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ProCanes Update: Opening Day Edition

The U is also MLB U

MLB: Colorado Rockies at Cincinnati Reds Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

After the long winter months of snow piling on top of snow that’s already piled up, the flowers are blooming, the mercury level in the home thermometer is rising, and the aroma of hot dogs and beer has returned to a ballpark near you. What has also returned are the numerous ProCanes and their teams’ to the Major League Baseball regular season, showing that just like in football, the U can also load professional baseball with talent across the board.

Yonder Alonso (2006-08)

Alonso has a great spring with the Chicago White Sox, with a team-high five home runs. In his first year with the Pale Hose after a stop with the Cleveland Indians in 2018, he is coming off a season with a .250 AVG, 83 RBI and 23 HR. He will start at first base in Chicago’s opener at Kansas City.

Jon Jay (2004-06)

Jay will begin the season on the 10-day injured list due to hit/back soreness. With Kansas City and Arizona in 2018, the outfielder hit .268, a decline from the .307 he hit with the Royals during his first 57 games of last year.

Ryan Braun (2003-05)

MLB: NLCS-Los Angeles Dodgers at Milwaukee Brewers Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

Fresh off being unable to play a two-game exhibition series in Montreal due to a forgotten passport, Braun enters his 13th season in the show after a drop-off of sorts in 2018, with his batting average sitting at .254 following the Brewers’ loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS. He looks to bounce back to having the numbers he put up in his team’s win over the Rockies in the NLDS, when he hit .385. Braun is a six-time All-Star and will likely start in left field when Milwaukee opens the season at home against the Cardinals.

Yasmani Grandal (2008-10)

Joining Braun in the Brew Crew’s lineup will be catcher Yasmani Grandal, who comes Wisconsin from the Dodgers where he spent the four previous seasons. Grandal is expected to increase his offensive output, after a .241 AVG in 2018 was also accompanied by 24 HR and a .446 SLG. His defensive performance will be interesting to watch as that is what Grandal and the Brewers would really like to see improvement in, having allowed nine passed balls a season ago.

Chris Herrmann (2009)

Another catcher, Herrmann will begin 2019 on the 60-day disabled list with the Oakland Athletics, recovering free knee surgery. Over seven seasons, Herrmann has accumulated a .205 AVG, just above the Mendoza line, hitting .237 over just 36 games with the Seattle Mariners in 2018. He also spent 42 games with the Triple-A Tacoma Rainers.

Several ProCanes who have MLB experience will begin the season in Triple-A.

Andrew Suarez (2012-2015)

The bullpen battle that has lasted all of spring training didn’t go Suarez’s way at the end, and he has been optioned to Triple-A Sacramento. It wasn’t an easy spring for the pitcher, giving up 21 hits, 11 earned runs and a 6.06 ERA in Scottsdale. He got 29 starts in 2018 in the aftermath of injuries to Madison Bumgarner and other bullpen arms, with a 7-13 record and 4.49 ERA.

Peter O’Brian (2012)

O’Brian just missed the cut for the Marlins final roster, and now heads to the Big Easy’s Triple-A New Orleans Baby Cakes.

The outfielder hit .220 with a HR this spring in Jupiter. In 2018, counterintuitively, he hit better in his 22 games with the Marlins then he did in minor league ball, where he played for a majority of the season, with his .273 AVG in Little Havana possibly being lifted by a smaller sample size compared to his .216 AVG in Double and Triple-A.

O’Brian also spent 15 games in the Dominican Winter League over the offseason, hitting .200 with two HR.