Eight former VMI student-athletes are active in professional baseball, all making solid contributions.
Josh Winder ’19 recently competed at the 2021 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, the first VMI alum to compete in the contest. Winder, a right-handed pitcher, has had a spectacular start to the 2021 season. He began the year at the Minnesota Twins AA affiliate Wichita and, in 10 starts for the Wind Surge, went 3-0 with a 1.98 ERA, 65 strikeouts, and just 10 walks over 54.2 innings. Winder was promoted to Class AAA St. Paul in late June.
Zak Kent ’20, drafted in the ninth round by the Texas Rangers in 2019, has competed for the Hickory Crawdads (North Carolina) of the High A East League this year. The right-hander has thrown in 10 games, starting five, and has a 3.48 ERA. Kent has struck out 47 batters in his 41.1 innings with just 12 walks.
Matt Pita ’19, drafted in the 12th round by the New York Yankees in 2018, is still in the organization. He played with the Somerset Patriots (New Jersey), the Yankees AA affiliate for the first half of the season, faring very well against left-handed pitching, with a .348 batting average, .429 on-base percentage, and a .522 slugging percentage. Pita was called up to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in July, reconnecting with former VMI assistant coach Casey Dykes, now the hitting coach for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Nathan Eaton ’19, a 21st-round selection by Kansas City in 2018, started the 2021 season for Royals Gold at the Arizona Complex League on a rehab assignment and moved up to the Quad City River Bandits of the High Class A Central League. While with the Bandits, Eaton is hitting .262 in 23 games with 16 runs, 12 RBIs, and a team-best 12 stolen bases.
Mike Devine ’12 has a 3.93 ERA with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs of the Independent Atlantic League. He has a 5-2 record in eight starts with 57 strikeouts in 52.2 innings pitched with one complete game.
Matt Winn ’14, a 14th-round draft pick by San Francisco in 2015, is now working in the front office of the Atlanta Braves after playing professionally for five seasons. He serves as an associate scout and runs analytics for their catchers.
Two Keydets, Reed Garrett ’15 and Cory Spangenberg ’13, are playing for the Saitama Seibu Lions of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball League. Spangenberg is hitting .230 in 55 games, while Garrett has a 3.96 ERA and two saves in 36.1 innings pitched.
Editor’s Note: This article was first published at vmikeydets.com.