Three former Eastern Kentucky University baseball players are playing professional baseball this summer and a fourth is looking to be back in the majors before the end of the season.
Mandy Alvarez is in his third year in the New York Yankees organization. With the exception of nine games at Class A Advanced Tampa, the third baseman has spent the 2018 season playing for Class AA Trenton in the Eastern League. In 74 games combined, Alvarez is hitting .260 with nine home runs, 17 doubles, 39 RBI and 43 runs scored.
He leads the Thunder in doubles and is second on the team in runs and RBI.
On Monday, Alvarez went 2-for-4 with two home runs, two runs scored and six RBI in Trenton’s 8-6 win over New Hampshire.
Alvarez was drafted by the Yankees in the 17th round of the 2016 Major League Baseball Draft. Alvarez, the Ohio Valley Conference Co-Player of the Year, had a .409 batting average, 97 hits, 13 home runs and 58 RBI in 2016. At the end of the regular season, he had more hits than any other player in NCAA Division I baseball.
Alvarez was also a First-Team All-OVC selection and was a semifinalist for the Gregg Olson Award, which is given to the breakout player of the year.
After being drafted in the 16th round by the Houston Astros in the 2018 MLB Draft, Alex Holderbach started his professional career with Class A short season Tri-City in the New York-Penn League.
In seven games, Holderbach has three hits, three RBI, two walks and a stolen base. In his first game as a professional, Holderbach went 1-for-4 and drove in two runs.
Holderbach, an All-American and an Academic All-American, was one of three finalists from across the nation for the 2018 Johnny Bench Award, given annually to the top NCAA Division I catcher. He hit .352 (81-for-230) with 12 doubles, two triples, 18 home runs, 55 runs scored and 79 RBI.
The Fairfield, Ohio, native was the fourth draft pick for the Colonels in the past three years and the 37th draft selection in the history of the program. He was the highest drafted Colonel since Richie Rodriguez was picked in the ninth round by the New York Mets in 2012.
Alex Hamilton has pitched in seven games for the Bakersfield Train Robbers in the independent Pekos League. The left-hander has struck out eight batters in 6 2/3 innings of work. He has allowed six earned runs on 12 hits.
As a senior at EKU in 2017, Hamilton had a 4-1 record with 43 strike outs over 40 innings.
Former Colonel Christian Friedrich has played four seasons in the majors, but missed the past year and a half with an injury. He is working to get back into the game later this season.
Friedrich pitched for EKU from 2006 to 2008. He still holds program records for lowest career ERA (1.84) and most career strikeouts (327). After earning First-Team All-America honors in 2008, he was drafted with the 25th pick in the first round by the Colorado Rockies.