It’s been a mix of stardom and struggles for former Hurricanes early in the 2019 MLB season. While some familiar faces continue to find great success in Major League Baseball, equally it’s been a bit of a struggle-filled spring for some former UM players. For one of the best talent producing four-year institutions, Miami would probably like to see some of its program alumni contribute at the most elite level as the big league season continues. That being said, there are more than a few positives, as there always are when UM is being discussed.
The fifth overall pick in the 2005 MLB Draft continues to be a poster child for the historic UM program’s illustrious pipeline to the pros. 2019 is Braun’s 13th season in The Show and with the Milwaukee Brewers, yet the 2017 inductee of the UM Sports Hall of Fame continues to be a force Major League Baseball, hitting .275 on the year so far with nine home runs, 30 RBI and an OPS of .822.
Since May 13, the left fielder is on a seven-game hit streak, including a 3-4 game against the Phillies on May 16 and a three RBI appearance on May 17 against the Braves. One of his highlights on the year, however, was a walk-off singe to end an 18-inning marathon aginst the Mets on May 4 (Or May 5, the game ended past almost everyone’s bedtime!).
The catcher hit home runs on May 14 and 16 in a four-game series against the Phillies, and has recorded a hit in six of his past eight games. Behind the plate, Grandal has a fielding percentage of .997,
O’Brien played his senior season at UM as a graduate transfer in 2012 after earning his degree from Bethune-Cookman. Journeying through several minor and major league clubs over his career, the outfielder would like to settle in his native South Florida with the Miami Marlins.
It’s been an up-and-down 2019 for O’Brien, spending time with both the big league Marlins and Class Triple-A New Orleans, hitting .167 in 14 games in the majors and .278 over 16 games in the Pacific Coast League.
O’Brien went on the ten day injured list on May 11 with a left rib cage contusion.
The No. 7 overall selection in the 2008 MLB Draft was an MLB All-Star in 2017. However, his 2019 hasn’t been quite as great, with Alonso’s average sitting at .181 with a .611 OBS. That’s also been bad news for his Chicago White Sox, who thought they were acquiring the .250 hitter that Alonso was in Cleveland last season.
However, Pale Hose skipper Rick Renteria still believes in the Havana native.
Renteria on Yonder Alonso:— James Fegan (@JRFegan) May 19, 2019
"He's had a lot of hard luck. His hard contact rate is pretty good. He's just not finding the holes. In baseball, you keep having good ABs, you keep putting good swings on the ball, you keep hitting the ball well, sooner or later the worm will turn"
Alonso has been one of UM’s gems in the pros over these past few years, so hopes that he can pull it back together in the immediate future.
While Alonso has been in a slump to begin 2019, at least he’s on the field. For his college teammate, friend, and now White Sox teammate Jay is still yet to make an appearance on the year after being acquired by the Southsiders this offseason from Arizona.
It began in the White Sox spring training campaign, when the center fielder suffered a groin/hip injury. This May has been a month in the extended spring training program while rehabbing. There is still no timetable for a return or minor league rehab assignment, even as Jay is set to come off the injured list on May 27.
Another player yet to see action in 2019 due to injury, Chris Herrmann still has no clear ETA for when he’ll be ready to play his first game in an Oakland Athletics uniform after undergoing knee surgery in early March, having signed as a free agent this offseason from Seattle via Houston.
The 2008 10th round draftee hit .237 in 2018 with the Mariners, while also getting time in Class Triple-A Tacoma.
The 2015 graduate from The U made his first start of 2019 on Monday for the San Fransisco Giants, after spending the beginning of the season in Class Triple-A Sacramento. He was called up to the big leagues in spite of a rough stint in the minors, accumulating a 6.33 ERA.
Bruce Bochy confirmed that Andrew Suarez has regained his spot in the #SFGiants starting rotation.— KNBR (@KNBR) May 21, 2019
"He's got velocity, he's got a good breaking ball and change up. He used them all tonight." pic.twitter.com/umaI397YoX
Monday’s start began with an immediate sour note, with Suarez allowing a home run to Atlanta’s Ronald Acuña on the very first pitch. Suarez allowed four hits, struck out five batters and walked four, and was one strike away from escaping the sixth inning with just the initial run allowed on the evening, but gave up a two-run homer to Austin Riley and the game began to slip away for Suarez’s Giants, who fell behind 3-0.
However, this is just the beginning for Suarez, who like the rest of the UM alums on the pros, still have four more months of baseball in front of them this season.