The Virginia Cavaliers baseball team continues to rack up wins, but what about the strong network of alumni that Brian O’Connor’s program has produced? Virginia was tied for an ACC-leading five players on MLB Opening Day rosters. Today, we look at each of the ‘Hoos that are in MLB organizations and how they are performing.
LHP Sean Doolittle (UVA: 2005-2007, Current: Washington Nationals)
The 36-year-old is going to give it another shot, although he has been plagued with an elbow injury. According to RotoBaller’s Keith Hernandez, Doolittle is unlikely to pitch in MLB until at least May.
OF Adam Haseley (UVA: 2015-2017, Current: Chicago White Sox)
Haseley spent the first few weeks of the new campaign in the AAA Charlotte before getting the call up last Sunday. He made his season debut against his former team, the Philadelphia Phillies.
RHP Daniel Lynch (UVA: 2016-2018, Current: Kansas City Royals)
After an up and down 2022, his first full season in the big leagues, Lynch has been sidelined with a rotator cuff strain to begin 2023. According to MLB.com’s Anne Rogers, he is progressing towards a return and was recently scheduled to throw a bullpen session.
OF Jake McCarthy (UVA: 2016-2018, Current: Arizona Diamondbacks)
McCarthy is off to a slow start in this campaign, with a slugging percentage of just .212, and has seemingly been replaced by former teammate Pavin Smith. We should still expect the youngster to continue to get at bats, as this Diamondbacks team does not expect to contend this season. It is also encouraging that McCarthy’s defense continues to shine (97th percentile in outs above average) and he has shown good bat to ball skills. Hopefully, the power numbers are to follow.
RHP Josh Sborz (UVA: 2013-2015, Current: Texas Rangers)
Throughout Sborz’s career, he has struggled to remain healthy and sustain himself at the major league level. Last Friday, he was reactivated and given another chance to prove his worth. So far, Sborz has racked up 4.1 scoreless innings with three hits allowed and three strikeouts.
OF Pavin Smith (UVA: 2015-2017, Current: Arizona Diamondbacks)
Smith is off to a scorching hot start in 2023 and has earned a full-time right field role for Arizona. In just 21 at bats, Smith has eight hits, two home runs, and 10 RBI.
OF Chris Taylor (UVA: 2010-2012, Current: Los Angeles Dodgers)
Taylor is certainly UVA’s prized possession in the pros. The former all-star now enters his tenth year in MLB and his seventh as a member of the Dodgers. Taylor has already gone deep four times this year, although he has only reached base nine times in his first 45 plate appearances.
C Matt Thaiss (UVA: 2014-2016, Current: Los Angeles Angels)
Thaiss is on the Angels roster but has struggled both behind the dish and at the plate. He has gone down on strikes in seven of his first 12 at bats.
3B Ernie Clement (UVA: 2015-2017, Current: Toronto Blue Jays Organization, AAA Buffalo)
Clement is off to a hot start for the Bisons, with a .918 OPS through 40 plate appearances. If this continues, he will likely see the majors again this season.
3B Zach Gelof (UVA: 2019-2021, Current: Oakland Athletics, AAA Las Vegas)
After making a run for Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic, the former second round pick returns to Las Vegas. Gelof recently came off an IL stint so he has only registered just 14 at bats this year. The 23-year-old is Oakland’s second best prospect according to MLB.com and is expected to make it up this year.
C John Hicks (UVA: 2009-2011, Current: Philadelphia Phillies, AAA Lehigh Valley)
Hicks continues to stick around the game, now as a reserve catcher for the Phillies. With up-and-coming prospect Rafael Marchan on the 60-day IL, Hicks is an injury away from his first big league appearance since 2021.
RHP Griff McGarry (UVA: 2018-2021, Current: Philadelphia Phillies, AAA Lehigh Valley)
After finally living up to his potential down the stretch of his senior season at Virginia, McGarry has skyrocketed through the minor league levels. The organization’s number three prospect awaits his inevitable call-up to the show.
2B Tanner Morris (UVA: 2018-2019, Current: Toronto Blue Jays, AAA Buffalo)
Although he is not considered a top prospect for the Blue Jays, the 25-year-old has performed well enough to continue to advance through the farm system. Morris produced a .430 on base percentage in 43 games for AA New Hampshire last season and now looks to adapt to the next level of competition.
LHP Bennett Sousa (UVA: 2015-2018, Current: Milwaukee Brewers, AAA Nashville)
Sousa was traded from the Cincinnati organization to Milwaukee last week for cash considerations and international bonus pool money. He is part of the Brewers’ 40-man roster, making it more likely for him to be called up at some point.
RHP Andrew Abbott (UVA: 2019-2021, Current: Cincinnati Reds, AA Chattanooga)
Reds insiders continue to rave about Abbott as he dominates minor league hitters. Through three starts in Chattanooga, he has tossed 15.2 innings, striking out 36, and allowing just two runs.
RHP Mike Vasil (UVA: 2019-2021, Current: New York Mets, AA Binghamton)
The Mets’ 11th ranked prospect earned the promotion to AA to begin 2023, after a 3.53 ERA in Single-A last season. He has tossed six innings, allowing two hits and two earned runs so far.
Other Cavaliers in the Minor Leagues:
- Connor Jones - Mariners Organization (UVA 2014-2016)
- Noah Murdock - Royals Organization (UVA 2017-2019)
- Andy Weber - Cubs Organization (UVA 2016-2018)
- Derek Casey - Cubs Organization (UVA 2015-2018)
- Nic Kent - Rockies Organization (UVA 2019-2021)
- Caleb Knight - Cubs Organization (UVA 2017-2018)
- Kyle Whitten - Rays Organization (UVA 2018-2021)
- Will Geerdes - Padres Organization (UVA 2022)
- Zach Messinger - Yankees Organization (UVA 2019-2021)
- Brian Gursky - Mets Organization (UVA 2022)
- Brandon Neeck - Dodgers Organization (UVA 2019-2022)
- Chris Newell - Dodgers Organization (UVA 2018-2022)
- Devin Ortiz - Padres Organization (UVA 2018-2022)