ACC and Major League Baseball recap with Stuart Barefoot:ACC Tourney, Hoppers, Zimmer, Encarnacion, Blue Jays and more

*****Courtesy of Stuart Barefoot, UNCG-grad and baseball guru, and he’s got the beard to prove it….*****

Well, May was a fun month for baseball. It was a busy month for those of us in Greensboro, and in the majors it was a rough month for many pitchers, including former Grasshoppers standout, Jose Fernandez. Here’s the month of May in review.

ACC Baseball Tournament in Greensboro

The Ninth Seeded Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets surprised ACC Baseball fans when they took home the tournament title on May 25th. After downing the sixth seeded Maryland Terrapins 9-4 in the final round the Yellow Jackets completed their unlikely championship campaign. It was the school’s ninth tournament title and pitcher Dusty Isaacs was tabbed the tournament MVP for his efforts.

GT earned the lowest seed in the ACC tournament and had to beat Wake Forest to earn a spot in pool play. They went on to Miami 6-3, and Clemson 3-0 and lost to Duke 6-0 in pool play. Their record of 2-1 was tied with Clemson for best in Pool A, but the Jackets earned the tiebreak since they beat Clemson.

Former Hoppers
May was a bad month for former Greensboro Hurler Jose Fernandez. After injuring his right elbow, Fernandez, like so many pitchers lately, underwent Tommy John Surgery and will miss he rest of 2014. The Cuban defector was off to another fantastic start this year, compiling a 4-2 record and 2.44 ERA. For now it will be at least a year before he’s ready to play baseball again.

Giancarlo Stanton still leads the National League with 16 home runs and 51 RBI’s while Marcell Ozuna continues to play stellar defense in centerfield and Christian Yelich remains a staple at the top of the Marlins order. These guys are definitely making Greensboro proud.

Edwin Encarnacion and…Mickey Mantle?
The Toronto Blue Jay’s first baseman had such a good month of May that it was comparable to the great Mickey Mantle. Encarnacion’s 16 home runs tied Mantle all time for home runs in the month of May and was rewarded with the American League player of the month honors. Before 2012, Encarnacion was not known for his power, never amassing more than 26 home runs in a single season. However since the start of 2102, he’s smacked 97 home runs, including a career best 42 in in 2012.

The Passing of Don Zimmer
Well it didn’t happen in May but since I’m slow to get this out, this baseball legend will get more recognition. Zimmer passed on June 4 after spending the past 65 years actively involved in baseball. Zimmer was loved by basically everyone in the game, even Pedro Martinez and will likely garner much well deserved tributes over the course of the rest of the season. RIP to a true legend

A Pleasant Surprise
Every year there a few teams who play surprisingly well or disappoint drastically. One team that has surprised everyone in baseball is the Toronto Blue Jays. While we touched on the work of Edwin Encarnacion briefly, his teammates aren’t exactly slacking off. The Jays are 36-24 on the season (as of June 5th) and posted a 21-9 record in the month of May. In the competitive AL East, few people likely picked the Jays to win the division.