Fleming becomes seventh Mountaineer to enter pro ranks
When outfielder Billy Fleming cut short his summer stay in the prestigious Cape Cod Summer Baseball League he became the seventh player from the 2014 WVU baseball team to sign a professional contract.
Fleming had gone undrafted in June when the major leagues held their annual selection of amateur players. He went to the country’s most famous and most well-staffed-with-players summer league of collegiate athletes with remaining amateur eligibility. And he did well . . . so well in fact that he was signed by the New York Yankees and sent to one of that team’s minor league teams in mid-July.
Already playing somewhere in the country at a minor league outpost were six of Fleming’s West Virginia University teammates from this past season in Morgantown.
Infielder Bobby Boyd was drafted and signed by Houston.
First baseman Ryan McBroom was similarly drafted and signed by Toronto.
The other four Mountaineer players to precede Fleming’s mid-July venture toward professional baseball were all pitchers.
Harrison Musgrave, whose best season at WVU came in 2013, was given a contract by Colorado.The left-hander was quickly off to the minor leagues to begin his career.
John Means, a right-hander, joined the far-flung organization of the Baltimore Orioles.
Sean Casey became a professional in good standing with the New York Yankees.
Corey Walter was given a contract and started at one of the lower echelon of teams staffed with players affiliated with Oakland.
West Virginia’s place in the Big 12 Conference gives its players maximum visibility to major league scouts who can see them perform against some of the best competition in all of college baseball — i.e. Texas, Oklahoma State, Texas Christian, Oklahoma, Baylor and Texas Tech.
The Mountaineers played exclusively on the road in February and most of March, making multiple stops in California, the Carolinas and other southern and western outposts where scouts could have the luxury of seeing several college games in one day at early-season tournaments.
Fleming was the last of the seven Mountaineers to sign a professional contract. His summer in the Cape Cod League showed he was one of the better prospects in the country when he batted over .300 against some of the more talented pitchers left in the college ranks.