Dini’s MLB Debut Highlights Sizzling Summer for NEC Baseball Alumni
When Jon Heyman tweets your name, you’re kind of a big deal, in the baseball world, at least.
Former Wagner backstop Nick Dini, who has been working his way up the Royals’ farm system since being selected in the 14th round of the 2015 MLB Draft, received his first call-up to the major leagues and Heyman took to Twitter to spread the news.
Dini, who was hitting .296 with 13 homers for AAA Omaha prior to his promotion, made his big league debut on August 8 against the Tigers and proceeded to rip a sixth-inning single to left field.
The 2015 NEC Player of the Year is the first Northeast Conference product to record a hit in the major leagues this season, but he isn’t the only NEC alumnus succeeding in the pro ranks.
In fact, the month of August has been quite kind to a number of Northeast Conference alumni who are pursuing their MLB dreams.
Hours prior to Dini’s debut, the New York Mets announced the signing of former all-NEC hurler Brad Brach (Monmouth). The Garden State product, who was recently released by the Cubs, has logged 1.1 scoreless innings of relief in two appearances thus far with the Mets.
Brach, who made his MLB debut in 2011, has a 3.31 career ERA and has fanned 527 batters over 497.0 frames.
A trio of former Bryant Bulldogs have also been bringing the heat to the diamond this summer. RHP James Karinchak (Indians), catcher Mickey Gasper (Yankees) and LHP Jack Patterson (Cubs) are thriving and have received promotions at some point this season as a result.
Former Wagner centerfielder Ian Miller, who was at the AAA level in the Mariners’ system, was recently dealt to the Minnesota Twins and could be called up once MLB rosters expand in September.
Another Wagner Seahawk – Ben Ruta – has spent the entire 2019 season with the Class AA Trenton Thunder (Yankees).
Here’s a tweet-by-tweet rundown of the aforementioned players and some…
The Wagner alumnus has made two starts since his promotion. He has one hit, one walk and one run scored.
The righty reliever, who was a two-time all-NEC first team starter during his collegiate days, has come a long way since being selected in Round 42 of the 2008 MLB Draft by the Padres. The 2007 NEC Pitcher of the Year made his MLB debut for San Diego in 2011 and went on to compete for three more teams (Orioles, Braves, Cubs) prior to his recent signing with the Mets. Brach was a 2016 American League All-Star for Baltimore.
JAMES KARINCHAK, BRYANT (AAA – Columbus)
His 7.27 ERA since being called up to AAA is a bit deceiving. Karinchak has held the opposition scoreless in seven of his 10 relief appearances for Columbus. He’s struck out 23 batters in 8.2 innings since the call-up, but has surrendered two untimely home runs. During a 10-game stay in the Eastern League (AA) earlier this year, Karinchak was a perfect 6-for-6 in save opportunities and did not permit a single run to score. He allowed only two hits and two bases on balls while striking out 24 batters over the 10.0 shutout innings.
IAN MILLER, WAGNER (AAA – Rochester)
Traded for cash considerations to the Twins, Miller moved from the Class AAA Pacific Coast League across the country to the International League. His speed and masterful defense make him a prime candidate to join the Twins for the September stretch run. Overall, Miller is batting .266 with 107 hits and 65 runs in 109 games this season.
BRADY FEIGL, MOUNT ST. MARY’S (AAA — Nashville)
Mount’s former lefty starter has been on the doorstep on the majors on a couple of occasions during his pro career before injuries derailed his plans. Feigl, who reached AAA with the Braves organization in 2015, could receive a shot at the bigs with the Rangers. He’s currently on the Injured List (aka the DL), but he’s performed well in 14 relief appearances for Class AAA Nashville this season. He has a 2-0 record with a 3.43 ERA. Feigl fanned 24 batters and walked only three in 21.0 frames.
ZACK SHORT, SACRED HEART (AAA – Iowa)
The former SHU shortstop, and NEC champion, played six games at Class AA Tennessee before jumping up to the Iowa Cubs of the Class AAA PCL. He has a .321 OBP in 35 games since the promotion.
JACK PATTERSON, BRYANT (AA — Tennessee)
Patterson, the 2018 NEC Pitcher of the Year, earned his way to AA after posting a 0.00 ERA over 23.2 innings in Myrtle Beach. He has made two starts for the Cubs’ affiliate in the Class AA Southern League and is 1-0 with 3.38 ERA.
RYAN COSTELLO, CENTRAL CONNECTICUT (AA – Pensacola)
The former CCSU corner infielder, a 30th-round pick in 2017, earned a promotion to Minnesota Twins’ Class AA affiliate Pensacola. Since his promotion from the Florida State League to the Southern League, Costello has 16 hits, including five dingers, in 72 at-bats.
BEN RUTA, WAGNER (AA – Trenton)
Like Miller, Ruta has shown plenty of prowess on the basepaths. He has 22 steals in 102 games this summer after swiping 12 bases in his first 36 appearances with Trenton in 2018. He’s batting .253 with 35 extra-base hits and 49 RBI for the Thunder.
MICKEY GASPER, BRYANT (Advanced A – Tampa)
The former NEC Player of the Year, who was a late-round pick by the Yankees in the 2018 MLB Draft, started the season in the Single A South Atlantic League before being bumped up to Advanced A ball. Gasper is batting .333 with seven RBI in 11 games with the Tampa Tarpons. In the SAL, the catcher/first baseman compiled a .347 OBP with 42 RBI over 82 games.
TREY McGOUGH, MOUNT ST. MARY’S (Short Season A – West Virginia)
After being drafted this past June, the former all-NEC southpaw starter pitched to a 1.04 ERA with 26 strikeouts in 17.1 innings of rookie ball. The Pirates have since elevated McGough to the short-season New York Penn League. He was touched up for six runs in his first two appearances with the WV Black Bears, but has fired 3.0 one-hit frames since.
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