San Diego Padres rookie Carlos Asuaje, formerly of Nova Southeastern University, made his Marlins Park debut on Friday, slugging a home run and a double in four at-bats.
Asuaje, San Diego’s starting second baseman since being recalled from the minors on June 23, is being used as the No. 2 hitter in the batting order.
“He’s a great bat-control guy,” said Greg Brown, who coached Asuaje, 25, at NSU. “Since he bats left-handed, he can move runners more readily, and he makes pitchers work. Batting second really fits Carlos.”
Asuaje’s presence in Miami this past weekend marks a good time to look at what a pro baseball All-Star team would look like if it were comprised only of active players who competed at Dade or Broward colleges. Here’s the list:
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▪ Catcher: Yasmani Grandal (Miami), who was an All-Star in 2015, is now a starter for the Dodgers, who are favored to win the World Series, according to Las Vegas. Cleveland’s Yan Gomes (Barry University), the first Brazilian-born player in major-league history, is our backup, and he had 21 homers and 74 RBI in 2014. He hit a walk-off, three-run homer for the Indians on August 9. Top White Sox prospect Zack Collins (Miami) is in Double A and figures to make an impact in the majors soon. He has 18 homers this season.
▪ First base: Seattle’s Yonder Alonso (UM) was a first-time All-Star this year, participating when the Midsummer Classic made its debut at Marlins Park.
▪ Second base: Asuaje is batting .297 with 11 doubles, one triple, three homers and 15 RBI in 54 games.
▪ Shortstop: Jemile Weeks (UM) is playing Triple A ball for the Cubs. A first-round pick in 2008, Weeks has played in the majors, mostly as a second baseman, every year from 2011 to 2016.
▪ Third base: This could have been Manny Machado (FIU recruit) or Nick Castellanos (UM recruit). But neither standout played for his chosen college, signing pro contracts out of high school. Instead, the choice is Seattle’s Danny Valencia (UM), who in June tied a Mariners record with hits in nine consecutive at-bats. He has 30 homers the past two years.
▪ Right field: J.D. Martinez (NSU), an All-Star in 2015 when he hit 38 homers and drove in 102 runs, is in playoff position with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He has 26 homers this year.
▪ Center field: Jon Jay (UM) won a World Series title with the 2001 St. Louis Cardinals, and he is a new addition this year to the reigning champion Chicago Cubs.
▪ Left field: Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun (UM) is a five-time Silver Slugger and a six-time All-Star. He was NL MVP in 2011 and led the league in homers in 2012.
▪ DH: Brian Goodwin (Miami Dade College) has emerged this year with the Washington Nationals. San Diego’s Jabari Blash (MDC) could also get some time.
▪ Rotation: Mike Fiers (NSU), who is 8-8 with a 4.17 ERA, has a good chance to be in the World Series this year with the Houston Astros. He’s set to be inducted into NSU’s Hall of Fame in November. Other members of this pitching staff would include Oakland’s Jharel Cotton (MDC) and 24-year-old lefty Andrew Suarez (UM), who is at Triple A as a top Giants prospect.
▪ Bullpen: The closer would be 22-year-old Bryan Garcia (UM), who has a 1.76 ERA and 17 saves combined this year through four levels of Detroit’s farm system. And Derek Law (MDC), who has shuttled between Triple A and San Francisco, would make a fine set-up reliever.
▪ Manager: Tony Diaz (FIU), the first-base coach of the Colorado Rockies, makes out the lineup card for this team. The former FIU infielder is in his first year as a major-league coach.