About a year and a half ago, an Anchor of Gold reader (I think it was lsmsrbls, but I'm not entirely sure) asked me how many top level baseball players finish their college degrees. With about 40% of MLB players coming from 4 year colleges, where they're required to stay in school for three years before they're draft eligible, and most players in the minor league stage of their careers having the Fall semester pretty much off, you'd expect that number to be pretty high, right?
Well in May 2014, the last time this statistic was measured, STATS LLC determined that only 39 MLB players - a whopping 4.3% - had obtained their undergraduate degree.
In other words, only about 10% of MLB players from 4 year colleges actually do the extra two semesters (on average) of work to complete their degree. For more on this, click here.
Of course, since then, Vanderbilt has been bucking this trend. In May, Tony "The Man of Steal" Kemp, Phil Pfeifer, and Zander Wiel received their degrees. Today, LHP Jared Miller and 1B Conrad Gregor will join the fold.
Miller (2012-2014), a 22 year-old LHP in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization (so yes, expect him to be traded to the Braves for a sack of baseballs shortly) finished last season with a 11-7 record and 3.85 ERA in 22 games (21 starts) between the short season Hillsboro Hops and Midwest League (A ball) Kane County Cougars.
*Note: Miller started more strongly than he finished, going 7-2 with a 1.81 era with Hillsboro, thus proving he was not about that Cougar life.
Miller, an 11th round pick in 2014, will start as long as he can, but likely profiles as a swing man or lefty reliever if he makes it to the majors.
According to our official site:
Miller is majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies focusing on enterprise and finance with a minor in Spanish. He was a SEC Academic Honor Roll selection as a freshman and made the SEC Academic Honor Roll in 2013.
In other words, when his baseball playing days are over (hopefully not for a long while yet), he can confidently tell his lady (on a Wednesday night when conditions are perfect): You know when I'm down to my socks it's time for business; that's why they call it business socks, ooh!
1B Conrad Gregor's (2011-2013) academic credentials are equally impressive, though oddly mysterious. According to our official site, he made Academic Honor Roll in 2011, 2012, and 2013, but his major is listed as: Undecided.
Of course, at Vanderbilt, you can construct your own majors, so perhaps this is less "Undeclared" and more "Cognitive Science and Philosophy: An Examination of Uncertainty through Ontology, Epistemology, Multiverse Theory, and the Existential Crises of Biological Determinism." Yeah, let's go with that one.
Gregor, 23, is a first baseman in the Houston Astros system (4th round 2013), plying his trade with the Double A Corpus Christi
Bleedin' Jesi Hooks. Though Gregor's 2014 season showed MLB promise - posting a .311/.404/.509 slash line with 16 dingers and 86 RBI as he climbed three rungs of the Astros' system - last year was not a repeat of that success. Gregor batted .239/.338/.384 with 10 dingers and 73 RBI as he struggled to adjust to AA. He will likely repeat the level this year, with a minor "make it or break it" caveat as part of a deep and talented farm system.
No matter. Despite what Marco Rubio says, I'd take a Cognitive Science and Philosophy: An Examination of Uncertainty through Ontology, Epistemology, Multiverse Theory, and the Existential Crises of Biological Determinism degree over Rubio's "Advanced Welding" certificate from Devry any day, especially on Wednesday, which is the night we make love...
It's graduation... it's graduation time!
Undergrad hours are over. Over.