Four former Albany Dutchmen were ranked among the top 25 players in the nation at their position by D1Baseball.com last week. The website listed Nathan Harris (Louisiana Tech) and Troy Montemayor (Baylor) among the best relief pitchers at the Division I level, and noted Dominic DiCaprio (Rice) and Ernie Clement (Virginia) as among the top 15 at catcher and second base, respectively. Of the four, only Harris was not listed in the top 25 by the website before the season began.
Harris is the highest ranked of the former Dutchmen, checking in as the fifth best relief pitcher in America after being unlisted entering the season. For Louisiana Tech, Harris has recorded seven saves and two victories in 11 appearances, posting a 1.07 ERA. The senior has struck out 39 hitters in his 25.1 innings on the mound, and has only surrendered three walks. Harris leads Conference-USA in saves and earned run average among eligible pitchers. The righthander made 12 appearances for the 2016 Dutchmen, striking out 27 hitters in 25.1 innings and posting a 2.13 ERA.
Joining Harris on the list of top relief pitchers is Montemayor, who is ranked 23rd in the nation by D1Baseball. Montemayor has been nearly unhittable thus far this season for the Bears, who have spent time in the national rankings. The junior, who was named a Preseason All-American by Collegiate Baseball and the NCBWA, has allowed only one run on seven hits in his ten outings. Montemayor has a win and six saves, which ties him for the top total in the Big 12. He has only allowed one walk in his 10.1 innings. His 0.87 ERA is second on the roster among pitchers with 10 innings of work, trailing only the spotless 0.00 from fellow 2016 Dutchmen Drew Robertson. Montemayor was a PGCBL All-Star and an All-PGCBL selection last summer, and saved seven games for the Dutchmen with a 0.53 ERA.
Only a sophomore, DiCaprio is the youngest Dutchmen player to be ranked, and was slotted as the sixth-best catcher in the nation. The catcher leads Rice in most offensive categories- batting average (.381), hits (32), home runs (3), runs batted in (22), total bases (47), and walks (15). His .381 batting average is in the top five in Conference USA, and his hit and RBI totals placed in the top ten in the conference. DiCaprio was selected to the NCAA All-Regional Team and the Conference USA All-Freshman Team a season ago, and made 29 appearances for the 2015 Dutchmen as an incoming freshman.
Clement rounds out the Dutchmen foursome as the 11th ranked second baseman in the country. The junior is hitting .336 for the 19-6 Cavaliers, and is one shy of the team lead in hits with 37, a total that places him in the top five in the ACC, one of the best baseball leagues in the nation. He ended 2015 with the third-most hits in UVA single-season history (92), and was selected to the All-College World Series team in 2014 when Virginia won the national championship. Clement hit .322 for the 2014 Dutchmen as an incoming freshman, sparking that year's team to a playoff berth that has now become standard for the franchise.
These four players are only a small sample of the successes acheived by Dutchmen alumni around the country. The Dutchmen congratulate each of these players for the acheivements that have led to this recognition, and hope for further recognition as the 2017 season continues.