Even in down years, the Boston College Eagles’ baseball team has established its position as one of the best teams in the NCAA at developing Major League talents.
Boston College hasn’t seen much success in 13 seasons under the reign of head coach Mike Gambino, who played for the Eagles from 1997 to 2000. They made the NCAA tournament just once, in 2016, and have finished at or above .500 just three times under his guidance. They went 19-34 in 2022, including a 5-25 record in conference play.
These look to be tough times for baseball fans in Massachusetts, as the Boston Red Sox have some of the worst odds to win the World Series in 2023, listed at +8000 at the sports betting sites in the Bay State, and they are projected to finish fourth in the AL East. One thing that Eagles fans can look forward to, however, is how Eagles’ outfielder Travis Honeyman manages to develop in his junior season.
He’s a right-handed hitter who enjoyed a breakout season in 2022, batting .329 with 16 extra-base hits across 41 games. Honeyman looks to be one of the best players in the ACC, listed behind only Wake Forest right-handed pitcher Rhett Lowder and Miami third baseman Yohandy Morales in MLB Pipeline’s prospect ranking list ahead of the 2023 season. Boston College rests in that weird niche of college sports teams that send a plethora of players to the pros even without much success as a program.
A large part of the Eagles’ struggles stem from the fact that they’ve been abysmal in conference play throughout Gambino’s tenure, never managing a winning record in ACC games: not even in the year they made the NCAA tournament. Gambino’s 254-346 career record is inflated by a 155-115 mark in out-of-conference games, as he’s 99-231 in ACC play.
Boston College has largely been done in by their pitching. The ACC is one of the best conferences in college baseball (both in terms of offensive production and generally), and the Eagles haven’t managed a team ERA under five since the last time they made the NCAA Tournament.
Even though they haven’t been able to put it all together on the diamond, the Eagles continue to churn out professional talents: Boston College has had five players drafted in the first round since 2004.
Perhaps even more shocking is the fact that the Eagles have an excellent hit rate as well, as 43 of the 86 players who big league clubs have drafted out of Boston College have managed to make it to The Show. A 2019 report by Baseball America said that “from 1981-2010, 17.6 percent of players who were drafted and signed ended up making it to the majors.” Not only do the Eagles produce draftable talent at a high rate, but their players are also more likely to succeed at the next level than many other colleges.
Entering his junior season, left fielder Travis Honeyman has decent odds at being one of the next players from Boston College to catch on with a major league team. MLB Pipeline named him as the No. 23 prospect in the nation as of December 2022, giving him an excellent chance at becoming the sixth first-round pick in Eagles’ history.
He burst onto the scene in 2022 after barely playing in his true freshman season, managing just one hit in 14 at-bats, largely appearing as a pinch hitter or reserve. It’ll be interesting to see if Honeyman can replicate the success he had last season, or whether he’ll need more time to hone his skills before going pro.
Honeyman stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 190 pounds, his lanky frame perfect for the outfield. He could stand to bulk up a little bit, especially if his power suffers as he adjusts to using a wooden bat against professional pitchers, but at just 21 years old, he has ample time to grow.
MLB scouts see him as an average to the above-average player, capable of being an everyday starter. His power, arm, and fielding are given a 50 grade, exactly average on the MLB’s grading scale; his running and hitting have a 55 grade, better than average. Honeyman isn’t projected to take the league by storm but, given the long odds against any prospect to ever play so much as an inning in the major leagues, there’s no shame in topping out as a capable starter… and scouts could be underestimating his abilities.
Chris Sloan is a former baseball league commissioner and travel baseball coach who has made significant contributions to the sport. In 2018, he founded selectbaseballteams.com, a website that helps parents find youth and travel baseball teams in their local areas. Since its launch, the website has experienced impressive growth, offering a wealth of resources including teams, news, tournaments, and organizations. Chris's unwavering passion for baseball and his innovative approach to connecting parents with quality baseball programs have earned him a respected reputation in the baseball community, solidifying his legacy as a leading figure in the world of youth and travel baseball.
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