With Duke baseball out of the NCAA tournament and the July draft looming, the Blue Zone takes a look at how some former Blue Devil stars are faring in the professional ranks:
Marcus Stroman, P, New York Mets
The 5-foot-7 hurler has been nothing but consistent through the early portion of the 2021 season. Pitching for the first-place Mets, Stroman has found his groove, tossing quality starts (six-plus innings, three or fewer runs) in six of his last seven starts. With a 6-4 record, 2.33 earned run average and great control of his pitches, the 30-year-old would surely be an ace in the majors. However, Stroman’s teammate Jacob deGrom is putting up historic numbers and has yet to show a sign of slowing down. Since getting drafted 22nd overall in 2012, the righty looks to be putting together his best season yet.
Bryce Jarvis, P, Hillsboro Tops (Arizona Diamondbacks High-A)
Duke’s highest-ever draft pick got off to a fast start in Hillsboro, Ore., with the D-Backs’ high-A team: Jarvis held a 2.00 ERA through his first 27 innings of professional ball, featuring a seven-inning win in which Jarvis recorded 11 strikeouts without surrendering a walk. The righty features a decent fastball and a changeup that has devastated batters since his college days, and his skills have carried over well to the minors. The Lexington, Ky., native struggled in his June 10 outing, however, giving up five runs in 5.1 innings. Jarvis clearly has the ability to be a solid starter at the professional level, but it is up to the Arizona organization to decide whether he will get a shot at Double-A by the end of the year. He definitely has the potential to be a fast-tracker to the majors for a franchise that currently owns the worst record in the league and is stockpiling young talent.
Chris Proctor, RF, Toledo Mud Hens (Detroit Tigers Triple-A)
Despite breaking camp with the Tigers’ High-A team following several years of solid, but not amazing play, a 1-for-4 performance with a double was enough for the Tigers to boost the catcher-turned-right fielder to the highest level in the minor leagues. At Duke from 2016-18, Proctor managed a .276 average with 84 runs batted in and only four home runs, and he batted .262 in only 42 at-bats at the high-A level. His batting numbers have strangely yet encouragingly increased as he has faced tougher competition, as the Gastonia, N.C., native now owns a .278 average with Toledo, albeit only after a handful of games.
James Marvel, P, Indianapolis Indians (Pittsburgh Pirates Triple-A)
Although his major league stint in 2019 did not go as planned, the former Blue Devil ace has continued a solid career in the minors this year with a 9-1 record and 3.10 ERA at the triple-A level. The Pirates own one of the worst staff ERAs in the league, so it’s not out of the question for Marvel to find himself donning the Jolly Roger on a major league field for at least a few games this season.
Ethan DeCaster, P, Erie SeaWolves (Detroit Tigers Double-A)
DeCaster, an extraordinary reliever while at Duke as a graduate student in 2018, has blown away batters at the upper ranks of the minor leagues—he went from high-A to triple-A during the 2019 season, and the Tigers started DeCaster at Erie following a year off. He has not disappointed, as the righty is yet to allow a run over 13.2 innings. His 1.89 minor league ERA should have the eyes of the organization, as the Tigers are also floundering while owning a top farm system.
Future Blue Devils in the pros
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Several members from the 2021 ACC Champion team will be waiting for their names to be called during the MLB Draft July 11-13. The draft hopefuls include shortstop Ethan Murray, center fielder Joey Loperfido, catcher Michael Rothenberg, pitcher Cooper Stinson and outfielder Peter Matt.