The 2018 MLB All-Star rosters have been named and Division II baseball is well represented. Not only did a duo of former Nova Southeastern players earn All-Star honors, J.D. Martinez and Miles Mikolas were teammates.
The 2009 Nova Southeastern team was a launching pad for MLB future stars. Three players on that team were on Opening Day rosters this season, and now two are heading to the All Star Game in the same season. Not too shabby for the small college in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
J.D. Martinez, Boston Red Sox
Martinez was the most sought-after free agent this postseason, and the investment has certainly paid off for the Red Sox. The slugging right-hander finds himself on his second All-Star team, leading all of baseball in both home runs and RBI entering the final weekend of the first half.
He was an absolute beast while with the Sharks, leaving the program with a then-record 32 home runs after slashing .428/.530/.770 in his final season. The Houston Astros made him their 20th-round draft pick in 2009 and by 2011, he was a big leaguer, the first-ever Shark to do so.
Miles Mikolas, St. Louis Cardinals
Mikolas was also a member of that 2009 Nova Southeastern team, anchoring the rotation alongside current Detroit Tiger Mike Fiers. While Fiers may have been one of the most dominating pitchers in the division that year, Mikolas was equally amazing, going 7-2 with a team-best 2.06 ERA and striking out 80, while walking just eight in 11 starts. He left the program in the top five.
The 29-year-old righty has had an up and down career to this point, spending the last three seasons across seas in Japan. He seems to have found a home in the Cardinals rotation, however. Mikolas enters the All-Star break 10-3 with a 2.65 ERA and a tiny 1.01 WHIP.
— NCAA Division II (@NCAADII) July 8, 2018
Though they weren’t Division II at the time, Young Harris has a duo of Mountain Lion Hall of Famers in this year’s Midsummer Classic.
Before heading to Georgia Tech where he was drafted out of by the Colorado Rockies in 2008, Charlie Blackmon was a Mountain Lion. And before being one of the more feared hitters in the National League, he was a pitcher.
Blackmon racked up 15 wins in his two seasons at Young Harris, striking out 138 batters over that span. He led Young Harris to the 2005 GJCCA State Championship in an MVP performance. In his sophomore campaign he found his groove as a hitter and has since become one of the more feared power bats in the game, hitting 84 in the past two-and-a-half seasons.
— YHC Athletics (@YHCAthletics) July 8, 2018
He is joined by first-time All-Star Nick Markakis. Markakis hit .442 in his two seasons and left the program with the single-season record in home runs with 21. He also went 23-3 with 258 strikeouts in two seasons on the mound, a true two-way threat of a player.
Markakis currently leads the NL in hits with 113 and is tied for third with 29 doubles with the sixth-best batting average in all of baseball at .322. The 34-year-old right-fielder is enjoying a breakout season reminiscent of his Mountain Lion days, and he was finally rewarded with that elusive All-Star nod.