(Photo credit: mercerbears.com)
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 past season was a strong one for the Bears as they won their third straight regular season conference title. Though the Bears lost some key contributors to graduation and the Major League draft after this past season, they look to have simply reloaded for the upcoming season. Underclassmen like Alex Crotty, Sawyer Gibson-Long, and Nick Spear, and returning veterans like Robert Broom and Drew Lingo look primed to lead Mercer as it goes for its fourth straight conference title.
Robert Broom (P)– Brewster Whitecaps; Cape Cod Baseball League
Arguably the best reliever in the league, the Cape Cod All-Star and junior righty has been impressive in his time at Mercer. This summer Broom put himself on the map proving he can compete with the best of the best. In 20 1/3 innings, Broom struck out 25 batters while walking only three and giving just 16 hits. Broom is a specialty guy, but any worries about how his ability would translate against better competition were put to rest this summer.
Chase Burks (P) – Lima Locos; Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League
The senior was impressive in his stint with the Locos this summer going 5-0 in seven starts allowing 42 hits and seven walks while striking out 37 in 41 1/3 innings. Burks showed a marked improvement from this spring, but still pitches too much to contact and needs to work on developing a true “out” pitch.
Sawyer Gibson-Long (P) – P.S. Powers; Southern Collegiate Baseball League
Possibly the most promising of Mercer’s young pitching crop, Gibson-Long went 7-0 this summer over 41 innings with 52 strikeouts against just 22 hits and six walks. Gibson-Long should compete for the Friday night spot this season, and if this summer was any indication he should have no problem doing so.
Zach Graveno (P) – Lima Locos; Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League
Graveno is one of the Bears promising young pitchers. Throwing 44 1/3 innings this summer for the Locos, Graveno struck out 29 batters while allowing 37 hits and 13 walks. Still learning to pitch, Graveno is working on missing more bats, but does a great job limiting hard contact.
Drew Lingo (INF) – Phenix City Crawdad; Sunbelt League
Lingo collected 21 hits in 62 at-bats this summer and showed some pop with 11 of his hits going for extra bases. The redshirt senior is a sure-handed defender and looks to anchor the Bears both offensively and defensively this season.
David Posas (OF/INF) – Piedmont Pride; Southern Collegiate Baseball League
David, a redshirt sophomore, saw little action during his first two seasons as a Bear. However, he had a solid summer batting .254 with eight extra base hits in 59 at-bats.
Nick Spear (P) – Edenton Steamers; Coastal Plain League
Coming off a great spring that saw him post a sub-3.00 ERA and strikeout nearly a batter and a half per inning, Spear was even more impressive this summer striking out 16 batters in 11 1/3 innings while sporting a 2.31 ERA. Spear appears to be primed for a weekend rotation spot, and will be relied upon to continue Mercer’s conference title streak.
Steven Taylor (INF) – Morehead City Marlins; Coastal Plain League
After seeing limited action this past season, Taylor performed admirably this summer hitting .239 with four extra base hits in 117 at-bats. Taylor will be relied upon more this season as the Bears go for their fourth straight conference title.
JT Thomas (C) – Lima Locos; Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League
Though he was named to the Great Lakes League All-Star team, Thomas seemingly took a step back this summer. After impressing this spring hitting .357 with 12 home runs, Thomas hit just .231 with no home runs and only three extra base hits. His 18 to 14 strikeout/walk ratio suggests his plate discipline is still there, and that this summer was merely a case of bad luck.
Jackson Ware (OF) – Morehead City Marlins; Coastal Plain League
The senior outfielder impressed with the wood bat this summer holding down the starting spot while batting .253 with eight extra base hits. Coming off a campaign that saw him hit .282 with eight home runs, Ware looks to be a starter yet again for the Bears this season.