It's an all-freshmen edition of the Birdball Summer Update as we look at how a crop of the newest Eagles are performing in summer ball before coming to Chestnut Hill.
Jake Alu, Wachusett Dirt Dogs (Futures Collegiate Baseball League)
After not receiving a plate appearance in his first game of the year back on June 25th, Alu went 1-for-3 with a run scored and a walk in his second game, the next day, against the Pittsfield Suns. Unfortunately for the Hamilton, NJ native, however, that's been it. He's gone oh-fer the rest of the way, failing to register a hit in his last seven at-bats. He hasn't walked either, putting him at .100 with a 1-for-10 season.
If there's a positive to take out of that, it's that summer baseball often can provide a reality check of what's to be expected at the next level. While the FCBL is considered part of the second tier of summer leagues, it's also a major step up for a high school kid to all of a sudden start playing with Division I and Division II talent. Look for him to swing out of his slump during the rest of the summer, and look for him to start improving into fall ball. If that happens, there's nothing to worry about here.
Austin Batchelor, North Shore Navigators (Futures Collegiate Baseball League)
Batchelor will matriculate to BC from Malden Catholic High School, and the Peabody, MA native is keeping it local by playing with the Lynn-based Navs as part of the FCBL. He's only seen action in two games, both of which have been team losses. But he had his best outing last week when he went 2.2 innings out of the bullpen in an 11-9 defeat to Nashua. On the season, he's thrown three innings, allowing one run with two hits allowed. He's struck out five and walked three.
If that name rings familiar, it should. Batchelor was part of the 2009 Peabody West Little League team that advanced to Williamsport as the New England Regional Champions in the Little League World Series. He committed to BC verbally during his sophomore season as a catcher and relief pitcher after receiving interest from both Vanderbilt and Notre Dame. But he tore his UCL in 2013 and lost his entire junior year at MC to Tommy John Surgery. This year, his senior year, was his first full season back from the injury.
Batchelor is being used as a pitcher for the Navs, but it remains to be seen if he'll be used in that capacity for BC.
Thomas Lane, North Shore Navigators (Futures Collegiate Baseball League)
If there's a name to take stock of this summer, it's Lane. He's a guy we've been following for two years. In his final performances before coming to BC in the fall, he's made eight appearances out of the bullpen for North Shore, going 1-1 with a 2.31 ERA and one save. In 11.2 innings thrown, he's struck out 12 and walked seven while allowing only seven hits.
His last two appearances were no-decisions, despite having thrown two innings of shutout ball against Pittsfield in a 10-8 victory. Against Bristol on Thursday, he went 1.1 innings in a 6-0 loss, giving up two runs, neither of which were earned, while striking out two and walking one.
Jacob Stevens, Worcester Bravehearts (Futures Collegiate Baseball League)
A Connecticut native who starred for Choate Rosemary Hall, he's appeared in four games as a starting pitcher. After getting roughed up in his first start against Torrington to start the summer, Stevens settled into his role very nicely. He got virtually no offensive help in a 1-0 loss to Brockton in his second start, throwing six innings of two-hit baseball, K'ing three and allowing the only run scored. He followed that up with another six inning performance, working into the seventh in a 1-0 win over the same Torrington team that beat him up to start the year. Though he recorded a no-decision, he allowed only three hits in 6.1 innings, striking out six and walking one while allowing no runs.
His last start was a 4-1 loss in which he was tagged with the decision, but Stevens threw another 5.1 innings, allowing only one earned run of the two that scored, scattering six hits, striking out eight, and walking two.
For a guy who's an incoming freshman in the fall, take note of this name to be a potential weekend starter right away.