While the NBA holds Duke’s largest collection of professional alumni, the Blue Devils’ baseball program has its own share of athletes at the next level. From Marcus Stroman’s first career All-Star appearance to Griffin Conine’s emergence in the Blue Jays’ farm system, let’s take a look at how Duke is doing in the MLB.
Marcus Stroman, SP, Toronto Blue Jays
The 2019 MLB All-Star Game rosters were finalized Monday evening, and Stroman will represent baseball’s lone team north of the border. The former first round pick becomes just the fourth Duke alum to be selected for MLB’s Midsummer Classic and the first since Chris Capuano in 2006. Stroman owns just a 5-9 record on the year but boasts a 3.18 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and has struck out 81 batters through 104.2 innings. He will take on the Red Sox July 4 for his final start before the All-Star break.
Griffin Conine, OF, Lansing Lugnuts (Toronto Blue Jays)
Conine, the Blue Jays’ second round draft pick in 2018, was forced to sit out the first 50 games of the 2019 minor league season after testing positive for a banned substance. But once the former All-ACC selection returned, it didn’t take long to find his power stroke once again. Conine smacked two balls over the fence in just his second contest for Toronto’s Class A affiliate Lugnuts, and has slashed a .314/.400/.638 line through 28 games on the season. Don’t be surprised if he quickly rises the ranks in Toronto’s farm system and joins Stroman at the Rogers Centre sooner rather than later.
Jimmy Herron, OF, Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Chicago Cubs)
Herron was selected by the Cubs in the third round of the 2018 draft and has already moved up to Chicago’s Class A-Advanced affiliate after spending the 2018 campaign in Class A. The former Duke captain has struggled so far this year however, slashing just .213/.322/.325 through 73 games. Herron has hit .278 over his last 10 games though, and will hopefully continue to improve as the season goes along.
Bailey Clark, P, Tennessee Smokies (Chicago Cubs)
Clark, a fifth-round selection of the Cubs in 2016, spent three seasons in Class A ball before finally moving up to the Double-A Smokies this season. The former Blue Devil hasn’t quite found his form in Tennessee, allowing 10 earned runs through 14 appearances for a 5.29 ERA. He has also struck out 16 and walked 14 through 17 innings of work.
Michael Matuella, P, Down East Wood Ducks (Texas Rangers)
The Rangers selected Matuella with their third-round choice in 2015, but the former lights-out starter has struggled to live up to his billing in the pros. Through 22 appearances for the Class A-Advanced affiliate Ducks, Matuella owns a meager 4.84 ERA, adding 24 strikeouts and 18 walks in 22.1 innings.
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