On Friday night, former Illinois baseball star Michael Massey got his chance in the big leagues.
The Illini have had some great players over the years. Head coach Dan Hartleb and his coaching staff do a great job developing players and getting them ready not only for play in the college ranks, but he also molds them into MLB-caliber talent.
Michael Massey got a dose of this reality when he was called up to the big leagues from triple-A Omaha on Friday so he could be a part of the Kansas City Royals lineup card.
Getting called up is an impressive feat, but no one should be shocked that Massey is now playing in the MLB. He had a career batting average of .324 at Illinois. He made an All-Big Ten team in all three seasons in Champaign. He was also a defensive ace with 60 straight games without an error.
These accolades led to Massey being picked in the 4th round of the MLB Draft in 2019, which is the highest any infielder in Illinois baseball history has been drafted.
Former Illinois baseball star has started well with the Kansas City Royals.
Since being drafted in 2019, it has been a quick rise for Massey through the minor leagues. Due to COVID in 2020, Massey’s career was put on hold, as was much of the sports world. He would start out with Quad Cities in 2021 at the single-A+ level where he would hit .289 and slug .531 in 99 games.
This season, Massey started out with double-A Northwest Arkansas where he would play 54 games and bat .305 with a slugging percentage of .496. This great play earned him a call-up to triple-A Omaha. With the Storm Chasers, Massey would play some of his best ball, hitting .348 and slugging .630.
With those tremendous numbers, Massey was called up to the Royals on Friday night. Down 4-1 to the Toronto Blue Jays in the top of the fourth inning, Massey’s number was called. He pinch hit for catcher Sebastian Rivero. While the result would be a strikeout, the MLB career for Massey had officially begun.
Don’t let that one strikeout fool you, though. Massey would rebound nicely on Saturday night against the Blue Jays. Massey would get the start at second base and would go 2-for-4 on the night in what ended up being a close loss 6-5 in 10 innings.
The Royals have a few young prospects who are likely to be pretty good players. Bobby Witt Jr. is someone who is getting all of the headlines. But don’t count out Massey. This kid went 2-for-4 in his first start in the majors. Hopefully, this is just the beginning of a great career.