(Photo courtesy of UMass Twitter page)
As the 2017 summer league season comes to an end, it is time to roll out CBBSN’s collegiate summer league updates from around the country. Over the next several weeks, our scouts will be sharing how their school’s players have fared over the season, and how they look to project going into fall practice.
This spring, for the first time in 30 years, head coach Mike Stone will not be in the dugout for the UMass Minutemen. He retired after the 2017 season, accumulating 697 wins during his three-decade tenure.
New head coach and UMass alum, Matt Reynolds, is now tasked with not only recruiting players for future seasons, but also evaluating the players currently on the roster, with the goal of winning now.
Players that participated in summer leagues gave Reynolds a chance to get a feel for what they can offer in his first season, and beyond.
Justin Lasko: Chatham Anglers, Cape Cod Baseball League
Lasko was signed as a temporary player for the Chatham Anglers while they waited for players to trickle in from the College World Series.
In June, he made two starts going a total of 10 2/3 innings, allowing four runs and striking out 11. He was cut in order to make room for the aforementioned permanent players.
Eventually, injuries occurred and players left, allowing him to return to the Anglers where he made his return almost a month later, making two starts and going a total of nine innings, allowing two runs and striking out three.
Christian Rosati: Plymouth Pilgrims, New England Collegiate Baseball League
After a successful freshman year where he made 19 appearances, Rosati made 15 more appearances for the Pilgrims.
His first five times out of the bullpen, he held his opponents scoreless over nine innings, while striking out six. That type of performance is one Rosati will look to build on as he goes into his sophomore season.
Edward Hart: Plymouth Pilgrims, New England Collegiate Baseball League
After a successful freshman year that saw Hart bat .264 in 27 starts, he got his first taste of collegiate summer baseball. He hit .185 with no extra base hits, albeit in only 27 at-bats.
Hart will look to recapture his freshman season form as he returns to campus in the fall. With regular playing time, he has a chance to surpass his first season production.
Cooper Mrowka: Bristol Blues, Futures Collegiate Baseball League
After a productive sophomore season at UMass, Mrowka took his talents to Bristol in order to further refine his game.
In 87 at-bats, he hit four doubles and two home runs, while driving in 15 runs. Heading into his junior year, Mrowka is poised to be a key cog in the Minuteman lineup.
Logan Greene: Bristol Blues, Futures Collegiate Baseball League
Greene played in 32 games with the Bristol Blues and showed some promise across the board. He had four doubles, a triple and a home run, while also providing a jolt on the base paths with eight stolen bases.
An encouraging stat from Greene was the fact he walked more than struck out this summer, finishing with 14 walks and 13 strikeouts.
Ryan Lever: Wachusett Dirt Dawgs, Futures Collegiate Baseball League
Lever was very productive for the Minutemen this season, hitting .281 in 167 at-bats with 14 extra base hits and 28 walks. Going into his junior season, Lever spent the summer with the Wachusett Dirt Dawgs in the FCBL.
While he only had 3 extra base hits in 54 at-bats, Lever swiped five bags the 24 times he was on base. He only stole three at UMass this season, so that is encouraging for Lever as he looks to become an all-around threat for Reynolds.
Nolan Kessinger: Wachusett Dirt Dawgs, Futures Collegiate Baseball League
Nolan Kessinger is an interesting case, it has been tough to crack the UMass lineup as a freshman in the past, let alone as a freshman walk-on. Kessinger did just that in 2017 for the Minutemen while finishing second on the team in hitting with a .301 average.
Kessinger continued to find success with Wachusett this summer, where he hit .254, with three home runs and five stolen bases. Kessinger has also spent some time on the mound, although he only had two appearances between school and Wachusett, he is a two-way player– something that will be interesting for Reynolds to play with over the next 3 years. Regardless, Kessinger looks like a key building block for the Minutemen.
While summer performances won’t be the only factor going into Reynolds’ evaluation of the current UMass roster, it surely will count in him getting to know his players. Regardless, players are always looking to improve and will hope to do so in their first year under Matt Reynolds.