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Knights in the Pros: Opening Day Baseball primer

Frazier is the only one on MLB rosters, minors include several former Knights.

MLB: Spring Training-New York Mets at Washington Nationals
Frazier will be in the middle of the Mets order in 2018.
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The major league baseball season begins TODAY March 29, 2018. Let’s hope the individuals can have as much success as their alma mater has had so far this season. Here’s a best guess as to where several former Scarlet Knights will begin the campaign.

Todd Frazier joined the Mets on a two-year, $17 million contract this winter. Frazier crossed town after he finished 2017 with the Yankees, a year in which the Bronx Bombers came one game short of the American League Pennant. The former Cincinnati Reds first round pick has 175 career homers and is two shy of 500 career RBI. The Toms River native and former Little League World Series hero has big shoes to fill as he replaces injured Mets captain David Wright at the hot corner. If their starting pitching stays healthy the Mets are expected to compete for a playoff spot.

Patrick Kivlehan begins his second season with the Reds as an utilityman, but will start 2018 at Louisville, their AAA affiliate. Patrick surprised some when he earned a spot on the Reds opening day roster a season ago. In his first full season Patrick played all three outfield spots, first base, and third base adding nine home runs. The St. Joseph’s Montvale product was seen getting reps at second base as well this spring since his versatility allows the Reds to keep extra pitchers in the bullpen. He is likely to be added to the major league roster at some point this season.

Howie Brey joined the Astros organization in 2016 as a 31st round draft pick. He came out of the chute strong in 2017 but ran into some trouble with control in the Carolina League later in the year. Brey is currently listed as on the “Voluntarily Retired List” but the 23 year old could return to the Buies Creek Astros at some point.

Though he only received two ABs for the big club all spring, Brian O’Grady had a nice homer in one of them (tweet above). O’Grady was drafted by the Reds (sense a theme) in 2014 and steadily climbed the ranks before struggling after a promotion to AA in 2017. He most likely will get a shot at a full year with the Reds AA affiliate in Pensacola this time around. His career OPS in the minors is over .750 and teams always need sluggers who can get on base.

Nate Roe participated in the local Atlantic League all-star festivities in Bridgewater last year. The 28 year old from Plainfield native was acquired by the Somerset Patriots to specifically serve as a reliever. Playing in his backyard is a far cry from his days in the Can-Am league where he began his professional career.

Tom Marcinzyk completed his Rutgers career with over 200 hits but was not drafted. The Middlesex native did play 8 games of professional baseball for the Somerset Patriots struggling in limited action. It does not appear he has caught on with a big league organization so perhaps we see him in the independent leagues again. Hey, it worked for Michael Lang!

Speaking of, Michael Lang has found a home in the American Association for the Sioux City Explorers as he is set to begin his 6th campaign in Iowa. He did not lead the league in runs like he did in 2016, or triples in 2015 (he was second in stolen bases), but had a solid season. The Dumont native is only 85 hits away from the franchise record and begins his quest May 17 when the Explorers begin their season.

R.J. Devish had an amazing senior season at Rutgers in 2016 as the Big Ten’s batting champion. He was not drafted (surprising for a catcher) and played independent ball. He looks to expand his horizons and play overseas in 2018.

Max Herrmann was not drafted after leaving Rutgers as the program’s all-time leader in saves but quickly signed with the Los Angeles Angels organization. The Montclair-Kimberly alum pitched in 10 Arizona Rookie league games going 2-1 with a save. As a lefthanded reliever he could advance to the Angels low-A affiliate the Burlington Bees. If not, a year in short-season A ball or more time in Arizona could be in his future.

Mark McCoy was drafted by the Royals in 2015 and performed well enough for a promotion in mid-2016. After struggling in Advanced A ball, he was released in 2017. The Barnegat product pitched in 53 games for the Sussex County Miners, who play their home games at what is now Skylands Stadium and appears on the team’s roster for this season.

Jayson Hernandez did not play in 2017 for the second consecutive year and now works for MLB superagent Scott Boras.

BONUS

Jeff Singer (Rutgers- Camden) was working at a car dealership before he was picked up by the Phillies organization. After excelling in the Florida State League in early 2017, Singer was promoted to the Phillies double-A affiliate in Reading. He pitched well in two spring training games for the Phils this year and could end up at double A, triple A, or even the big league ballclub.