Ten former Polk State baseball players finished the 2017 season in professional baseball.
"I feel fortunate that I have been able to coach 10 talented former players who are now in professional baseball chasing their dreams," said Head Coach Al Corbeil.
"Those guys all worked extremely hard to get to where they are at, and the Polk State baseball coaching staff and program wish them continued success moving forward. We look forward to seeing many of them as they come back to visit or work out here in the off season."
Alec Asher, a pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles, posted a 2-5 record with a 5.25 ERA. In 60 innings, he issued 23 walks while recording 47 strikeouts. Asher started May 2 against fellow Lakeland High School grad Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox. It appears to be the first time two graduates of the same high school have met as opposing pitchers in the major leagues. Asher also spent part of the season with the Norfolk Tides (Triple-A), where he went 3-3 with a 4.65 ERA.
Jordan Barrett spent his first season in pro ball pitching for the Bluefield Blue Jays (Toronto Blue Jays' Appalachian League affiliate). The lefty had a 3-2 record with one save, walking 13 and striking out 46.
Finishing his third season in the minors, pitcher Jordan Guerrero (San Diego Padres) split the season between the Fort Wayne TinCaps and the Tri-City Dust Devils (both Single-A). The right-hander, whose fastball reaches 100 mph, posted a combined record of 1-2 with a 2.10 ERA. In 34 innings, he allowed 17 walks and had 52 strikeouts.
Casey Kulina started his first season in pro ball with the Missoula Osprey before moving to the AZL Diamondbacks, both Rookie-League affiliates of the Arizona Diamondbacks. In 19 games, he had a 3-1 record with three saves. He allowed only eight walks while striking out 47.
Sam Machonis, an outfielder in the Detroit Tigers organization, played one game for the Connecticut Tigers before moving to the West Michigan Whitecaps (both Single-A). In 32 games, the switch-hitter had a .219 batting average, collecting 21 hits and 12 walks.
After being drafted by the Florida Marlins, JD Osborne began his pro career this season with the Gulf Coast League Marlins (Rookie). He saw action at first base, third base, and catcher. In 26 games, the native of Whitby, Ontario, had 19 hits, 10 RBI, and 12 runs scored.
Matt Pearce was voted the St. Louis Cardinals Minor League Pitcher of the Month and the Texas League Player of the Month in May. He was also selected to the 2017 Texas League All-Star game. After starting the season in the Texas League (Double-A) he advanced to the Memphis Redbirds (Triple-A), where he helped lead the team to the Pacific Coast League championship. In 27 games in two leagues, the right-hander posted a 14-8 record with 30 walks and 99 strikeouts.
Casey Schroeder played his third season of pro ball for the Kannapolis Intimidators (Single-A). In 46 games, the catcher hit .201 with four home runs, seven doubles, and 14 RBI. In 340 innings behind the plate he had a .989 fielding percentage.
Shameko Smith spent the season with the Grand Junction Rockies (Rookie) after the Colorado Rockies selected him in the 2017 MLB draft. Pitching in only 12 innings, the righty walked two and struck out seven.
Daniel Sweet played his second year of pro ball with the Daytona Tortugas (Cincinnati Reds' Single-A). The speedy outfielder collected 22 stolen bases. In 96 games, he had 94 hits. 29 RBI, and a .270 batting average.