MLB opened the 2023 season Thursday and among the 780 players on the opening-day rosters were four former Georgia Tech players, with others knocking on the door.
Joey Bart, catcher, San Francisco Giants – The No. 2 overall pick of the 2018 draft made the Giants’ opening-day roster for the second year in a row and is trying to earn a full-time starting job. Bart, who was not in the starting lineup in the Giants’ opener against the New York Yankees, likely will have to improve on his ability to make contact. Last year, in his first full major-league season, he hit 11 home runs in 261 at-bats, but his 38.5% strikeout rate was among the highest in MLB.
Charlie Blackmon, outfielder, Colorado Rockies – Far and away the most prominent former Tech player now in the big leagues, Blackmon started his 13th season in the majors Thursday, all with the Rockies. Blackmon is a career .297 hitter who won the 2017 National League batting title, is a four-time All-Star and has spent his entire professional career with the Rockies. The one known as “Chuck Nazty” could benefit significantly from new rules eliminating defensive shifts. According to Sports Info Solutions, Blackmon had an estimated net loss of 14 hits last season because of the shift, tied for fifth most in the majors, which would have raised his batting average from .264 to .291.
Xzavion Curry, pitcher, Cleveland Guardians – Curry, who reached the majors last summer (making two starts) after he was drafted in the seventh round in 2019, made the Guardians opening-day roster with a strong spring training. It appeared a spot opened up for him after an injury to a Guardians starting pitcher earlier this week. He’ll come out of the bullpen. By five days in August, Curry became the first player of the 2019 seventh-rounders to make the majors.
Buck Farmer, pitcher, Cincinnati Reds – Farmer made his 286th appearance in a major-league uniform Thursday, giving up one run in the eighth inning against the Pirates to take the loss. Farmer, a fifth-round pick by the Tigers in 2013, had a 3.83 ERA in 44 appearances last season for the Reds. Considering his starting point as a fifth-round pick, his career has been exceptional. Only 11 of the 30 fifth-rounders in 2013 have reached the majors, and Farmer had amassed the most major-league service time entering the 2023 season.
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