WEYMOUTH, Mass. (November 28, 2022) -- A banner season for Futures League alumni in Major League Baseball (MLB) entertained until the very last game.
Gold Glove-winning shortstop Jeremy Peña, who played for the 2015 Torrington Titans and went on to star collegiately at the University of Maine, capped off his rookie year as a World Series MVP and champion for the Houston Astros after becoming the first of a record six Futures League alumni to make his MLB debut in 2022.
The 24-year-old Peña is now the only player ever to win a Gold Glove, League Championship Series MVP and World Series MVP over an entire career, though he did it within this single season. He is also the first rookie shortstop in MLB history to win a Gold Glove.
The native of Providence, R.I., hit .345 with four home runs, eight RBI and 12 runs scored over 13 Postseason games. He became the first rookie ever to post a six-game hit streak in the World Series and the first rookie shortstop to hit a homer in a World Series game, all while going 10-for-25. He homered during each round of Houston’s run to a second title in six seasons.
Peña’s memorable month started in the American League Division Series against the Seattle Mariners, as it was his solo blast in the top of the 18th inning that gave the Astros the lead and the eventual 1-0 win in the deciding Game 3, which is tied for the longest in Postseason history. His 22 homers during the regular season ranked second among A.L. rookies.
Peña is not only the first-ever Futures League graduate to win the World Series but became the first to play in any Postseason game. Former Northeastern University and 2014 Worcester Bravehearts pitcher Aaron Civale later started for the Cleveland Guardians in the Division Series against the New York Yankees, who Peña’s Astros would beat in the following round.
Prior to April’s Opening Day, Civale was one of just six Futures League alums to play to the highest level, but that number began to double as Peña led off for this season’s rookie crop.
Left-handed pitcher Matt Gage became the first former Pittsfield Sun to make his MLB debut on June 6 with the Toronto Blue Jays. In 11 relief appearances as a rookie, Gage allowed just two earned runs and did not allow a hit to a lefty. The Siena College product worked in three games for Pittsfield in 2012, which was its first year as a Futures League member.
Matthew Batten followed Pena as the second Torrington Titan alum to reach “The Show” in 2022, playing for the San Diego Padres on June 30 and recording his first MLB hit four days later. The former infield standout at Quinnipiac University in his native Connecticut was a 2014 Futures League All-Star.
The 10th former Futures Leaguer to climb all the way up the pro ranks was former Brockton Rox southpaw Jake Fishman, a Sharon, Mass., native and product of Division 3 Union College who made the first of his seven appearances for the Miami Marlins on July 31. Fishman did not issue a single walk over his 11 innings with Miami and had a pair of multi-inning outings over which he allowed just one run. One of Fishman’s 2014 Brockton teammates was infielder Zack Short, who played six games for the Detroit Tigers in his second MLB campaign.
Barely two years after he was selected in a shortened 2020 draft, touted pitching prospect Cade Cavalli made his first start as a member of the Washington Nationals on Aug. 26, striking out six Cincinnati Reds batters over 4.1 innings. Cavalli, who is the second-highest MLB draft pick and one of four first-rounders in Futures League history, was a University of Oklahoma-bound two-way player for Pittsfield’s 2017 squad.
A member of the 2016 Futures League champion Nashua Silver Knights, pitcher Gavin Hollowell climbed the Coors Field mound for the Colorado Rockies on Sept. 19 to make the first of six appearances. The former St. John’s University righty had been pitching locally for the Double-A Hartford Yard Goats before earning his first big league call.
In addition to the rookie class, Civale, Short and San Francisco Giants infielder Jason Vosler all saw MLB action in 2022.
The 2022 season was Civale’s fourth seeing action for the Guardians, though this one was interrupted by three separate injury stints. In 20 regular-season starts, he earned five wins, posted a 4.92 ERA and struck out 98 batters in 97 innings. The righty was outstanding during the second half, going 3-1 with a 3.00 ERA from July 8 through Oct. 5.
Vosler hit .265 with a career-high 11 extra-base hits, four homers, 12 RBI and 14 runs scored in 36 games, the most ever played by any league alum. He was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento five times throughout the season. The former Northeastern star led the Old Orchard Beach Raging Tide with a .343 average during his Futures League All-Star summer of 2012.
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