Four former Eastern Kentucky University standouts are currently playing professional baseball — Mandy Alvarez, Alex Holderbach, Christian Friedrich and Bryan Quillens
Mandy Alvarez is in his fourth season in the minor leagues after being drafted by the New York Yankees in the 17th round of 2016 Major League Baseball Draft.
The Miami, Fla., native started off the season with the Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He played in 30 games before being sent to Class AA Trenton.
In 20 games with the Thunder, the third baseman is hitting .243 with two home runs and 10 RBI.
Alvarez was named to the Double-A All Star team last season when he played for the Trenton Thunder. He was also named an MILB.com Organization All-Star for the Yankees.
Holderbach is entering his first full season of minor league play in the Houston Astros organization.
After playing last summer with the Tri-City Valley Cats in the Class-A, short-season New York-Penn League, Holderbach was assigned to the Quad Cities River Bandits of Class A Midwest League in March.
On April 26, the catcher hit a two-run, walk-off home run in the 12th inning to lift the River Bandits over the Clinton LumberKings. He went 2-for-3 against Fort Wayne on May 3.
Holderbach has played in just 20 games this season with the River Bandits and is currently on the seven-day disabled list.
He is hitting .186 with two home runs and six RBI.
Holderbach lifted the Tri-City to the New York-Penn League championship last season with a two-run single with two outs in the bottom of the 12th inning.
He was an All-American an Academic All-American at EKU. He was also one of three finalists from across the nation for the 2018 Johnny Bench Award, given annually to the top NCAA Division I catcher.
Holderbach hit .352 with 12 doubles, two triples, 18 home runs, 55 runs scored and 79 RBIs last season before being picked in the 16th round of the 2018 MLB Draft.
Friedrich is back in pro baseball after missing the 2018 season because of injury.
The left-handed pitcher is playing with the New Britain (Conn.) Bees in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball.
Friedrich has made eight starts for the Bees and has a 3-1 record with a 4.39 ERA. He has pitched 41 innings with 41 strikeouts.
Friedrich pitched for the Colonels 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 Colorado.
Friedrich played for the Rockies in 2012, 2014 and 2015 and also saw action for the San Diego Padres in 2016.
The Evanston, Ill., native has appeared in 124 games in the Major Leagues (42 starts), including 10 wins and 246 strikeouts.
Bryan Quillens was the opening day starter for the Westside Wooly Mammoths of the United Shore Professional (independent) baseball league.
In two games this season, Quillens is 0-1 with a 7.20 ERA.
A 6-foot-4 right-hander from Austell, Ga., Quillens played two seasons at EKU. As a senior in 2018 he appeared in 20 games and started five times. He went 2-1 with 22 strikeouts in 31 innings.