(Photo credit: Eau Claire Express site)
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.
The Ohio Bobcats baseball team is just a few weeks removed from capturing its second Mid-American Conference Championship title in the last three years, but a few Ohio Bobcats are already back at work at ballfields across the country competing for summer teams. These leagues include the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League, the Prospect League, the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League, and finally the Northwoods League–which is the second-best summer league behind the Cape, according to collegiatesummerbaseball.com. Here is a look at how some of the Bobcats fared this summer.
Derek Carr: Southern Ohio Copperheads, Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League
As a freshman last year, left-handed pitcher Derek Carr pitched sparingly. He is one of seven players from Ohio University’s team to play in the Great Lakes Summer League. For the Copperheads, Carr put up an impressive 3.27 ERA, with 32 strikeouts in 22 innings pitched. In his two starts for the Copperheads, he gave up three runs in 10 1/3 innings with 14 strikeouts. Look for him to challenge for a starting spot next spring on the Bobcats pitching staff; if not he’ll be a very good bullpen piece.
Dan McCauley: Southern Ohio Copperheads, Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League
McCauley is another incoming sophomore, who should get more looks behind the plate now that the starting catcher from last year’s Bobcats has graduated. In order to do that he must cut down on his strikeouts, as he struck out 24 times in 18 games for the Copperheads. He also had a .204 batting average with two home runs and seven RBIs. With another sophomore catcher on the roster who had more playing time than McCauley last year, he will have to fight his way next spring for a starting spot in the lineup.
Cole Shinsky: Southern Ohio Copperheads, Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League
The third sophomore Bobcat on the Copperheads summer team is Cole Shinsky. He’s another lefty pitcher that should get a look as a starter in 2018. In 27 1/3 innings pitched with the Copperheads, he struck out 28 with a 3.95 ERA. Shinsky did his best work as a starter during the summer, going 19 1/3 innings and only allowing seven earned runs in that stretch of games.
Nick Byrnes: Cincinnati Steam, Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League
Of the many freshmen on last year’s Ohio Bobcats team, few of them played a great deal. Byrnes is no exception as he only pitched 1 1/3 innings. He was used exclusively as a starter for the Steam. In all, he pitched 43 2/3 innings with a 4.32 ERA and 35 strikeouts. Those numbers would look more impressive if it weren’t for an outing where he went three innings with seven earned runs against him. Byrnes is yet another young pitching prospect who could challenge for a spot on Ohio’s pitching staff.
Kenny Ogg: Eau Claire Express, Northwoods League
Ogg appeared in 18 games last season for the Express, covering 45 1/3 innings. He finished with a 3-1 record and recorded 27 strikeouts. He was recruited initially as an infielder and converted to the mound in the fall of 2015. Because of that recent transition, it was important for Ogg to get experience during the summer against quality competition. The sophomore right-hander saw improvement in his game in his second year of Northwoods League action. After getting 41 innings under his belt as a sophomore with a 4.39 ERA for the Bobcats, he pitched in nine games for the Eau Claire Express. He had an impressive 2.16 ERA over 16 2/3 innings pitched with 17 strikeouts to go along with four walks.
Rudy Rott: Eau Claire Express, Northwoods League
Rott had a breakout freshman season, playing every game for the Bobcats, hitting .300 with a .387 on-base percentage. He also ranked second in RBIs (46), doubles (14), and home runs (11). His first summer of Northwoods League action saw him bat .270 with a .392 on-base percentage. The Holmen, Wisconsin native was also solid in the field, finishing with a .994 fielding percentage at first base. This year for the Express, Rott had an inconsistent summer. In the middle of the season, his batting average dropped down to .240. Rott eventually finished the year with a .267 batting average, crediting the rise to an 11-game hitting streak to finish the season. Look for Rott to come back strong for his sophomore season as the Bobcats starting first baseman, and continue his rise to one of the top hitters in the MAC.
Devon Garcia: Eau Claire Express, Northwoods League/ Utica Blue Sox, Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League
Garcia finished the year strong for the Bobcats and continued that trend in the Summer. The toolsy, glove-first center fielder started the summer with the Utica Blue Sox, batting .287 with three home run and 13 stolen bases in 38 games. He finished the year with the Eau Claire Express, hitting .348 in six games while playing his usual stellar defense. He had at least one hit in every game for the Express. Going into his junior season for the Bobcats, Garcia will most likely bat leadoff for the second straight year.
Tanner Piechnick: Chillicothe Paints, Prospect League
As a freshman last spring for the Bobcats, Piechnick was a DH for half the season. This year he should return to his natural position as a catcher, now that Ohio’s previous starting catcher graduated. He will receive a bulk of the playing time there. For the Chillicothe Paints, Piechnick batted .268 with two home runs and 14 RBIs in 23 games. While those numbers do not stand out, he has shown some promise with the bat. Ohio’s head coach, Rob Smith, hopes Piechnick continues his development and has a breakout sophomore season.
The Ohio Bobcats are looking to capture another Mid-American Conference Championship next spring, although it may prove more difficult with inexperienced players moving into starting roles. With few Ohio University players standing out this summer, it’s difficult to predict what is to come for the Ohio Bobcats next spring.