CMU baseball players working toward MLB dream
Jon Weaver, one of five Central Michigan players drafted this season, is walking the long and grinding road to Major League Baseball.
Weaver, a 2012 draftee, begins this journey after being drafted in the 21st round of the 2012 MLB Draft this summer by the Tampa Bay Rays. He is currently in the Rookie League as a late-inning reliever for the Princeton Rays, located in Princeton, W. Va.
Weaver recently recorded his first professional save and is currently 0-1 with 5.06 ERA in just seven appearances.
Another is Ryan Longstreth, who was drafted in the 40th round by the Detroit Tigers and is currently with the Gulf Coast League Tigers, Detroit’s Rookie League affiliate.
“Every hitter has the potential to take you deep every time,” Longstreth said. “Every hitter is good.”
With every player having immense talent, it’s tough to make a name for yourself, especially when you go undrafted.
That is what happened to pitcher Jesse Hernandez in 2010. Despite having a good season with the Chippewas, he was passed up by all 30 teams more than 40 times.
“I thought I was going to get drafted after my senior year because I had a pretty good year, but I didn’t,” Hernandez said. “The day after the draft, I got a call from a Blue Jays scout and four hours later I was on a plane down to Florida, heading to their spring training complex.”
Since that call, Hernandez has returned to Florida with the Advanced Class-A Dunedin Blue Jays after a stellar stop in Michigan with the Class-A Lansing Lugnuts. There, he went 4-4 with a 2.29 ERA in 13 games and 12 starts.
“In college, you have four years and you get your opportunity,” Hernandez said. “Here you have to earn your opportunities, and then keep earning them.”
Longstreth isn’t the only former CMU baseball player in the Tigers’ association.
Shortstop Jordan Dean was drafted by them this year in the 15th round. Being drafted so much earlier, Dean has got a little head start on Longstreth, and is currently playing with the Short Season Class-A affiliate, the Connecticut Tigers.
Dean has found some struggles there at the plate so far, batting just .242 with seven RBIs in 18 games, but he feels he is on his way up.
“I’m loving it (Connecticut). It’s warm everyday and I get to be on a baseball field,” Dean said. “I think I’m doing alright; off to a slow start, but I’ve got some consistent at-bats the past few weeks and have made some adjustments.”
CMU players currently in the big leagues:
2012: LHP Ryan Longstreth, GCL Tigers Rookie League, 3-0 2.92 ERA 40th round Detroit Tigers
RHP Jon Weaver, Princeton Rays Rookie League, 0-1 5.06 ERA, 1 save 21st round Tampa Bay Rays
RHP Zach Cooper, Lakewood BlueClaws Class-A, 0-1 0.00 ERA, recently promoted from Class-A Short Season 15th round Philadelphia Phillies
RHP Dietrich Enns, Staten Island Yankees Class-A Short Season, 2-0 1.65 ERA, 19th round New York Yankees
SS Jordan Cooper, Connecticut Tigers Class-A Short Season, .242 7 RBI 1 3B 4 SB, 15th round Detroit Tigers
2011: LHP Trent Howard, Fredrick Keys, Advanced Class-A, 2-5 4.4 ERA, Midseason All-Star, Pitcher of the Week 7th round Baltimore Orioles
2010: RHP Jesse Hernandez, Dunedin Blue Jays, Advanced Class-A 0-1 8.55 ERA, Pitcher of the Week, Undrafted Free Agent Toronto Blue Jays
2007: RHP Josh Collmenter, Arizona Diamondbacks MLB, 1-2, 4.11 ERA, Won 2011 NLDS game vs Milwaukee Brewers 8-1 7 IP, 2 H 6 SO 15th round Arizona Diamondbacks
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