Oakland University’s presence in minor and major league baseball is small when compared to other schools but their performance is no less significant. Zach Sterry and Mike Brosseau, both graduates in the last five years, have already made an impact within their organizations and are starting to look like potential major league talent.
Zach Sterry finished his collegiate career at Oakland with an impressive .306 average, .386 OBP, and .495 slugging percentage. He finished his senior season as an All-Horizon League second team selection and lead the conference in slugging percentage at .643.
Sterry was drafted by the Red Sox in the eighth round of the 2017 draft, where he was assigned to the Gulf Coast Red Sox, playing five games and recording a .235 OBP. After only five games, he was promoted to the Lowell Spinner of the New York-Penn League, where he recorded an improved .329 OBP. Sterry is adapting to better competition but the Red Sox are loaded with first base talent with the likes of Mitch Moreland and Hanley Ramirez on the major league roster as well as Sam Travis at Triple A, Pawtucket Red Sox. If Sterry continues to develop at his current pace, I could see him being a trade asset to the Red Sox or a spot starter if there is an injury on their major league roster.
If Zach Sterry’s rookie performance in the minors is noteworthy, then Mike Brosseau should be turning heads. He ended his career at Oakland University with a .308 career batting average, a .389 career OBP, and a career slugging percentage of .453. He led the Horizon League in on base percentage his senior year with .456 and was named All-Horizon League first team. After signing a free agent contract with the Tampa Bay Rays, he entered the minors as a member of the Gulf Coast Rays, immediately becoming an impact player. Brosseau would end his first year slashing a .319 average and a .424 OBP in 35 games during 2016. In 2017, he exceeded expectations again as part of the Bowling Green Hot Rods, batting .318 and recording a .393 OBP.
After 80 games in the Midwest League, Brosseau was promoted to the Charlotte Stone Crabs in mid-August of 2017. In 19 games, Brosseau was back to old form, batting .333 and recording an OBP of .425. It is expected that Brosseau will begin the 2018 season with the Charlotte Stone Crabs, or be promoted to Montgomery in 2018. Brosseau has excellent adaptive skill, showing consistency as he progresses. The Rays have league average middle infield skill, so it wouldn’t surprise me if Brosseau sees the major league roster in the near future. If he doesn’t I expect him to be a very valuable asset within the organization going forward, either in trades or as security against injuries.
Both players show promise and are constantly working to get better. Only time will tell how high they’ll get within their organizations but being from a non-Power Five conference, they’ve surely exceeded any expectations that have been put on them thus far. The Grizzlies representation in major league baseball is small, but with both of these players graduating in the past three years, Oakland University baseball appears to be on an upswing and you could see some impressive talent come out of Southeast Michigan in the near future.