Jan. 24, 2014
STORRS, Conn. – Two former UConn baseball stars are currently among Major League Baseball’s top-100 prospects, according to MLB.com draft and prospect expert Jonathan Mayo. The 2014 ‘Prospect Watch’ list was published earlier this week.
Astros prospect George Springer (UConn ’11) comes in as the No. 21 prospect in all of baseball. Springer had one of the most productive seasons in MiLB history in 2013, finishing three home runs shy of a 40-40 season. Across AA and AAA in Houston’s system, Springer batted .303 with 37 home runs, 108 RBIs and 45 stolen bases. His .303/.411/.600 slash line would have placed him among the leaders in both the Texas and Pacific Coast League, had he posted enough at bats in either league to qualify. Despite only playing 73 games for AA-Corpus Christ, Springer was named the 2013 Texas League MVP.
While at UConn from 2009-11, Springer hit .346 with 46 home runs, 196 RBIs and 76 steals in 186 games. He was a 2009 Baseball America Freshman All-America First Team member, and became the first Husky to take home BIG EAST Rookie of the Year honors. In 2011, Springer was the league’s Player of the Year, garnering First Team All-America nods from Perfect Game USA, Louisville Slugger and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.
Former UConn pitcher Matt Barnes (’11), a prospect in the Boston Red Sox organization, comes in as the No. 86 prospect on the list. Barnes spent the majority of 2013 with AA-Portland of the Eastern League, making 24 starts and posting a 4.33 ERA along with 135 strikeouts against 46 walks in 108 innings. Barnes was called up to AAA-Pawtucket for one start at the end of the year, in which he went 5.1 scoreless innings with seven strikeouts, allowing just three hits to pick up a win.
During his career in Connecticut from 2009-11, Barnes went 24-11 with a 3.30 ERA in 45 career appearances, 37 starts. In 256.2 career innings, he struck out a program-record 247 batters against 81 walks and allowed just 212 hits. His 2011 year was one for the record books, as Barnes went 11-5 with a 1.93 ERA and a 117:33 strikeout to walk ratio in a program-record 121 innings. He was named a First Team All-American by the NCBWA and Louisville Slugger, also taking home Second Team honors from Perfect Game USA and Baseball America. Barnes was the 2011 BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year and a First Team All-Conference selection.
Both Barnes and Springer have been invited to their respective club’s Spring Training camps this season, and Mayo projects both to make their major league debut in 2014.