The Futures League


Six Futures League Alumni Make 2024 MLB Opening Day Rosters

WEYMOUTH, Mass. (March 29, 2024) 一 Six Futures League alumni were listed on Opening Day rosters in Major League Baseball (MLB) as the 2024 season began on Thursday.

Former Worcester Bravehearts pitcher and Northeastern University alum Aaron Civale is the most experienced big leaguer of the bunch, entering his first full season as a Tampa Bay Ray after being acquired from the Cleveland Guardians last July. He went 7-5 with a 3.46 ERA in 23 starts between the teams during his fifth MLB campaign in 2023, logging a career-high 116 batters in 122.1 innings. Civale opens the season as Tampa Bay’s No. 2 starter, lining him up to pitch on Friday against the Toronto Blue Jays.

A 2022 Gold Glove Award winner and World Series MVP, Houston Astros shortstop Jeremy Peña made his third consecutive Opening Day roster after putting up career numbers a year ago with his 32 doubles, 81 runs scored and 13 stolen bases. The Torrington Titans and University of Maine product had a .263 average and hit 10 home runs in his 150 games, but he was a .310 hitter over the final 57 games of the season. His 149 starts ranked second among American League shortstops.

Each of the final three Futures League alums to make their MLB debuts in 2023 also begin this season in The Show, including the league’s only former two-time Top Pro Prospect in Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Sal Frelick. The former North Shore Navigators and Boston College star was Milwaukee’s No. 2 prospect at this time last year and went on to play in 57 games with 24 RBI upon being recalled last July. Frelick also started both National League Wild Card Series games in center field, though he played considerably at third base this spring.

Formerly of Brockton and University of Virginia, infielder Zack Gelof also debuted last July and is on his first career season-opening roster with the Oakland Athletics. Gelof hit .267 with 40 runs scored, 20 doubles (the most by an MLB rookie after the All-Star break), one triple, 14 home runs, 32 RBI and an .840 OPS last season. His 35 extra-base hits are the most by an Athletics player over his first 69 career games, all of which came at second base. He was also eighth among American League rookies with 72 hits and 14 stolen bases for the season.

Two Futures League grads are opening 2024 with new organizations. Former Brockton Rox and Sacred Heart University infielder Zack Short made the roster for the New York Mets, who were his childhood favorite team while growing up in Kingston, N.Y. Short was a regular for the first time in his MLB career with the Detroit Tigers in 2023, posting a career-high seven homers and 33 RBI in 112 games. He has played all of his 179 career games in the Tigers organization between 2021-23, but was claimed off waivers in November.

After debuting last July with the Chicago White Sox, former Pittsfield Suns and College of the Holy Cross pitcher Declan Cronin finds himself with the Miami Marlins who were the second team to acquire him off waivers during this past offseason. He joined Miami just before spring training and earned his role in the bullpen with 10.2 solid innings in Grapefruit League play. Cronin pitched at least one inning in eight of his nine MLB appearances last season, including a five-strikeout performance over two scoreless against the New York Yankees on Aug. 8. 

Former Bristol Blues, New Britain Bees and Boston College pitcher Emmet Sheehan is starting the season on the 15-day injured list for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Sheehan went 4-1 with a 4.92 ERA in 13 outings last season, which included him becoming the first starting pitcher since at least 1967 to throw eight consecutive scoreless innings to begin his MLB career. 

A Futures League-record 13 alumni played MLB games in 2023, which marked the second straight season in which six players were promoted to the highest level for the first time. Over that span, the number of league graduates to reach MLB has tripled from six to the present 18. 

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