By Gabriel Fidler @ExtraInningsUK
Thanks to several sources, including the Greek National Team, Boomer Prinstein, Director of the International Stars, and Kevin Macadam, Commissioner of the British Baseball League, we have added another 14 names to our list of European players and those eligible for those nations. All of the subsequent players at four-year universities are potential passport players for the Greek National Team, while of the three high schoolers, two are Americans eligible for Britain. We anticipate the number of Americans who are dual citizens or can trace their heritage to countries in Europe will dramatically increase as more information becomes available. Currently, with this update, there are 58 players eligible for European nations playing in the U.S.
These prospects are eligible to play for 15 different countries and of the 58, only 21 are passport players, an important figure for the game’s development in Europe. Buoyed by a whopping nine Greek-Americans, there are now 21 players at NCAA Division I institutions, 31 in the NCAA as a whole. We have six high schoolers listed, along with six NAIA and 16 in JuCos. Of the 52 players at university, 31 are in their first two years, meaning there are an increasing number of Europeans getting an education in the U.S.
These players will be added to the list for subsequent regular updates and we are expecting another half-dozen names soon, adding players from Austria, Germany, and Sweden. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any further names we may have missed, whether they are dual citizens, high schoolers, or at small institutions.
Finally, we are going to add a Pitcher of the Week for Four-Year Universities, honouring John Doxakis, who struck out eight over six scoreless innings to earn a win on TAMU’s opening weekend.
Constantakos had an impressive debut in 2017, ranking in the Top 65 in D-I ball in two statistical categories despite being a first-year. The right-hander went 3-4 with a 4.92 ERA, finishing fifth in the Big South in strikeouts (75), with an incredible 28 looking (2nd in the Big South). His 10.55 K/9 was ranked fourth in the conference and 59th in the nation. Constantakos walked only 16 batters in 64 innings and his 4.69 K-to-BB ratio was No. 64 in the nation (fifth in the conference). A .389 BABIP suggested a lower ERA would be more reflective of his performance. Despite only registering as a sophomore, the Greek prospect earned the Opening Day start for the Buccaneers last Friday and responded with aplomb, striking out seven in five frames to earn the victory. Constantakos scattered three hits and a base on balls in giving up two earned runs.
Like his potential national teammate Constantakos, Doxakis saw plenty of action during his first year at university. The righty saw action in 25 games, including seven starts and finished with a 4-3 record with a 5.44 ERA. However, several factors underlie those numbers. First is that batters hit only .237 against him, so with improved control (4.17 BB/9, plus five wild pitches), the results would likely improve. Additionally, Doxakis was 4-2 with a 4.34 ERA and 11.17 K/9 in relief and got much stronger as the season progressed. In Super Regional Play, he earned both of the Aggies’ wins, tossing 2 2/3 scoreless frames before getting a single out in the College World Series as well.
After excelling in the Alaskan Baseball League last summer, starting the All-Star Game and finishing 3-1 with a 1.08 ERA and 10.8 K/9, Doxakis returned to the starting rotation for TAMU this spring. His experience in Alaska and the NCAA postseason appears to have served him well as Doxakis tossed six easy shutout innings against Rhode Island, striking out eight and surrendering only two hits. The hurler needed only 77 pitches to earn the win in the Aggies’ second game of the year.
Doxakis will face a number of European prospects this year. Texas A&M faces Houston (Nolan Bond) on Apr. 3, Antoine Duplantis’ LSU club on Apr. 5-7, and Matteo Bocchi on Apr. 10 against Texas.
Holub signed with OPSU after a year away from university. He played for two years at Northwest Florida State Junior College, with whom he won the NJCAA World Series, though he pitched in only three games, giving up two runs in three innings. Holub’s season debut also did not go well, as he was yanked after walking a batter, hitting another, and throwing a wild pitch, though neither scored. On Mar. 6 and Apr. 10, Holub’s Aggies will play a doubleheader against NW Oklahoma State, which features the Netherlands’s Jorin van Amstel.
Lingos is entering the final season of a good career for the Sun Devils as he has a 4.26 ERA through his first three years, the last two in Arizona State’s rotation. In 171 1/3 frames, the southpaw has a 134-62 K-BB ratio across 51 games and 28 starts. In his first year, Lingos even got to face the Arizona Diamondbacks during their spring training, throwing a scoreless inning with a strikeout. Arizona State played the D’Backs again this year, with the MLB club setting down the Sun Devils 6-2 on Wednesday. Lingos had a solid start to get his year going, scattering five hits and three walks across six frames against Miami to earn the win. Lingos whiffed six and gave up three earned runs.
Niarchos has played second and third, while also serving as a middle reliever for the Panthers. He has a career slash line of .100/.182/.100, though he has only 22 plate appearances in two-plus year. On the mound, Niarchos has a 5.87 ERA and 1.91 WHIP in 23 innings, spanning 19 games. His .419 BABIP reveals, however, that he has been quite unlucky. The descendant of a Greek family, Niarchos did not play in HPU’s opening series sweep by James Madison.
Papantonis was a two-time First Team All-New Jersey selection before committing to Virginia. His cousin is Pat Light, a former Red Sox top prospect. Papantonis has yet to appear in a game for the Cavaliers.
Sechopoulos was a regular starter as a first-year with the Bulldogs and his first collegiate home run was a grand slam. Overall, the only first baseman eligible for a European team hit .259/.327/.439, although those numbers were far better in conference play at .282/.354/.437, suggesting Sechopoulos improved as the year went on. The Canadian native was All-Ontario in his middle two years of high school.
Sechopoulos will face fellow Greek teammate Constantakos on Mar. 20 and Apr. 3 when the two Charleston universities face off. It is unlikely that the two would face as Constantakos is a weekend starter. From Mar. 30-Apr. 1, the Cougars will face Great Britain’s Hayden Platt when they travel to Elon for a conference series.
Triantos is working his way back from Tommy John surgery that caused him to miss all of last year as a redshirt. The southpaw saw minimal action as a first-year, appearing in 11 1/3 innings over 13 appearances. Triantos was absolutely shelled during that 2016 campaign, giving up 24 hits and four walks, though he did strike out nine. While he gave up a .421 average, his BABIP was an otherworldly .489. His second year pitching for the Broncos has started in a much more promising fashion as Triantos tossed 1 2/3 scoreless frames in a 16-7 loss to Oregon State, the only Bronco pitcher to survive unscathed.
Tsintolas hails from the same town as fellow potential future Greek National Teamer Nick Pantos and both stayed close to home. He was rated the No. 1 ranked catcher in Maryland by Prep Baseball Report, Perfect Game and Varsity.com in high school. So far, he has only had one at bat in his career, which came last season. As an Atlantic 10 Conference member, the Colonials will play Dayton, which features Poland’s Dominic Golubiewski. They will also play Papantonis’ Virginia club on Apr. 17, which has the potential to feature two Greeks.
Zouras, eligible to play for the Greek National Team, is entering his second year as the starting catcher for the D-I Redbirds. Last year, he was named to the Missouri Valley Conference All-Tournament Team and hit .256/.351/.343. He is off to a blazing start this year, going 6-for-13 with a double in the Redbirds’ series win at Arkansas State. Zouras has caught 18 percent of runners attempting to steal in his career, though that number was at 26 percent in 2017. He was his team’s closer in high school.
Gabriel Fidler is the lead writer for www.ExtraInnings.co.uk and is the UK’s first MLB-accredited journalist.