Acquiring players from New England schools has been important to the Futures Collegiate Baseball League over the first nine years of existence.
With some of the best Division 2 baseball in the country played right here in our own region, that level of the college game is no different. The competitive Northeast-10 Conference will have plenty of representation in the regional summer circuit if the 2020 season is able to commence next month.
Plans are being made in hopes that baseball can be played, and D2 talent is a part of each roster. Several players from those ranks are expected to return to the league, including one of the top pitchers during the 2019 season in Franklin Pierce left-hander Shawn Babineau (Ashland, Mass.) of the Worcester Bravehearts. As it stands today, the Springfield transfer will have plenty of Ravens and conference rivals sprinkled throughout the Futures League.
As all seven teams continue to construct rosters for a 40-game season that would begin on July 1, here is some more of the local D2 talent that Futures League teams are looking to showcase in 2020:
Stonehill / INF / Milford, Mass.
FCBL team: Worcester Bravehearts
The Preseason All-East Region third baseman has been extremely productive so far as a Skyhawk as his resume includes a .310 career average, 21 extra-base hits, 36 RBI, 46 runs scored and a 2019 Northeast-10 Conference Rookie Hitter of the Year honor. He drove in 12 runs and hit a team-leading three home runs for Stonehill in 12 games this spring. Wilde also played in 19 games for his former high school coach Alex Dion’s Bravehearts last summer and reached base at a .302 clip, driving in six runs and scoring 11 more.
Franklin Pierce / OF / Boston, Mass.
FCBL team: Brockton Rox
Lara will bring his outstanding speed and on-base percentage to the Rox following a strong start to his sophomore season in a Franklin Pierce uniform. The product of Boston’s Snowden International School hit .373 with a .515 on-base mark, a double, a triple, 12 RBI and 11 stolen bases in 15 games for the Ravens in 2020. He swiped a team-leading 15 bags in a full 41 games as a freshman. Lara won Boston City League indoor track titles in the long jump (three times), 600-meter (twice) and 300-meter run during high school.
Franklin Pierce / C / Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
FCBL team: Nashua Silver Knights
Jones is a Futures League veteran returning for his third straight season in Nashua. Following a 2019 All-Star and Second Team All-FCBL campaign during which he hit .306 with the fourth-most RBI in the league (36), the Floridian catcher returned to the Ravens and posted a .310 average, three homers, 21 RBI, 12 runs scored and five stolen bases as a senior. He hit just .226 and .242 over his middle two college seasons after starting out his career as an All-Rookie selection in the NE10.
New Haven / RHP / Pittsfield, Mass.
FCBL team: Pittsfield Suns
Mestre is slated to return to his hometown to pitch for the Suns after spending last summer with the NECBL’s Martha’s Vineyard Sharks. He compiled three wins and 25 strikeouts in 31 innings of work during his stint on the island. This spring, the 6-foot-1 rising senior made two starts for the Chargers, fanning seven over 11 ⅓ frames. The Taconic High School graduate was an NE10 All-Rookie Team member following an eight-win season in 2018 and has gone on to post 11 career wins, a 3.57 ERA and 104 strikeouts in 126 innings at New Haven.
Southern Connecticut State / RHP / Manchester, Conn.
FCBL team: Westfield Starfires
Fox struggled with control issues but racked up the strikeouts as he joined the Bristol Blues on the road to a Futures League championship appearance last summer following his senior year at Manchester High School. The 6-foot righty fanned 41 batters and walked 25 in 26 innings, but he limited opponents to just a .217 average. He appeared in just one game during his freshman year for the Owls and will look to put everything together during his second summer in the college wood-bat circuit.
Southern Connecticut State / RHP / Newington, Conn.
FCBL team: New Britain Bees
Hughes was another young arm who impressed during a summer stint in Bristol as he was the most often used reliever in the Futures League in 2019, appearing in 23 games. He also showed strikeout stuff while struggling with command during his time as a Blue, posting a 43-to-28 ratio over 36 innings. The 6-foot-2 righty who is also listed as an infielder had two wins and a 5.00 ERA for Southern last year, striking out 28 over 27 frames.
Southern New Hampshire / RHP / Newton, Mass.
FCBL team: North Shore Navigators
The lone Penmen pitcher listed on a Futures League roster at this point, Alexy is slated to join rising sophomore shortstop and New Britain Bee-to-be Danniel Rivera (New Britain, Conn.) in the league this summer. The righty transferred from Division 3 Wentworth Institute of Technology and made an instant impact at the higher level, pitching 5 ⅔ innings of no-hit ball with five strikeouts. He worked against ranked foes Colorado Mesa and New York Tech.