With the MLB all-star break over and the trade deadline looming, this baseball season is beginning the home stretch. Let’s see how some former North Carolina baseball players are doing in the pros.
Kyle Seager: Seager was the only Tar Heel to play in the 2014 MLB All-Star game. The Seattle Mariners clean-up hitter and third baseman made the American League team as a reserve, and went 0-for-2 in the mid-summer classic. Seager should have plenty of other opportunities to play in the all-star game, as teammate Robinson Cano believes that this was just the first of many all-star games for Seager.
Seager is hitting .277 this season and leads the Mariners in home runs (16) and runs batted in (66). Seager recently won the AL player of the week (for the second time this year), when he hit a ridiculous .583 with 2 home runs in 6 games from June 23-29. This is a breakout year for Seager, who played for Carolina from 2007 to 2009. He is beginning to reach the potential he showed as a Tar Heel, and should have a very successful MLB career.
Dustin Ackley: Seager’s Seattle and Carolina teammate, Ackley had one of the best Tar Heel careers ever, which led him to be drafted 2nd overall in 2009 and be inducted to the College World Series Hall of Fame earlier this month. However, he has not yet lived up to his potential, hitting just .245 in parts of 4 seasons in the MLB. This season has been no different, as Ackley has scuffled for most of this year. However, things might be looking up for the former Tar Heel star. Earlier this week, Ackley made a highlight reel catch to rob a home run, and he is hitting .373 in July. I think Ackley can still have a very productive career in the MLB, especially if this past month has been any indication.
Colin Moran: The 2013 6th overall draft pick has been playing solid baseball this season for the Jupiter Hammerheads–the Class A Advanced affiliate of the Miami Marlins. Moran started the season in a slump, but has been playing much better recently, and is currently hitting .303. The main problem with Moran as a prospect is his power (he has hit just 4 home runs in 337 at-bats this season), but he is a very solid contact hitter and can get on base (as we saw at Carolina when he had a .470 on base percentage his senior season). He also is a solid fielder, and has posted a .973 fielding percentage in 2014. The way Moran is playing, I think he will be called up to double-A by the end of this season. I believe that Moran will one day be a productive hitter for the Marlins, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets called up to the Major League team at some point in the next few seasons.
Mike Morin: Morin, who played for Carolina from 2010-2012, made his big league debut for the Angels in April of this year. Since then, he has been a reliable arm out of the bullpen, making 37 appearances. Opponents have hit just .248 off of Morin, and he has a 2.63 ERA. If Morin continues to pitch well, he will be a valuable asset for the Angels as they try to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2009.