Springer during spring training 2014
|Houston Astros – No. 4|
September 19, 1989 |
New Britain, Connecticut
|April 16, 2014, for the Houston Astros|
(through 2015 season)
|Runs batted in||92|
George Chelston Springer III (born September 19, 1989) is an American professional baseball right fielder for the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball (MLB). Prior to being drafted by the Astros in the first round of the 2011 MLB Draft, Springer played college baseball at University of Connecticut, where he was named a First Team All-American.
Springer attended New Britain High School in New Britain, Connecticut, for his freshman year of high school. He then transferred to Avon Old Farms School in Avon, Connecticut, for his sophomore through senior seasons. He repeated his junior year as his grades dropped.
Springer played for the Avon Old Farms' baseball team. The Minnesota Twins selected Springer in the 48th round of the 2008 MLB Draft. Though he considered signing with Minnesota, he decided that he was not ready for professional baseball and did not sign.
Springer enrolled at the University of Connecticut (UConn), where he played college baseball for the Connecticut Huskies baseball team. At UConn, Springer was named to the 2009 Baseball America Freshman All-America First Team. He was also named the Big East Conference rookie of the year. In 2011, Springer was named the Big East Player of the Year. He was named to a first team All-American by Perfect Game USA, Louisville Slugger and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, while being named a Second Team All-American by Baseball America.
The Houston Astros selected Springer in the first round, with the 11th overall selection, in the 2011 MLB Draft. Springer became the highest selection in the MLB Draft in Connecticut baseball history. Springer signed with the Astros, receiving a $2.52 million signing bonus. After he signed, Springer played in eight games with the Tri-City ValleyCats of the Class A-Short Season New York–Penn League. Before the 2012 season, MLB.com rated Springer as the 84th best prospect in baseball. In 2012, he played for the Lancaster JetHawks of the Class A-Advanced California League and the Corpus Christi Hooks of the Class AA Texas League. He hit 22 home runs and recorded 28 stolen bases for Lancaster. Splitting the 2013 season between Corpus Christi and the Oklahoma City RedHawks of the Class AAA Pacific Coast League, Springer joined the 30-30 club, recording more than 30 home runs and stolen bases. He appeared in the Texas League All-Star Game, and was named its most valuable player. Though he only played in 73 games for Corpus Christi, he was named the Texas League Player of the Year at the end of the season. He was a finalist for USA Today's Minor League Player of the Year Award.
Baseball America ranked Springer as the 18th-best prospect in baseball prior to the 2014 season. During spring training in 2014, Springer and his agent rejected a reported seven-year contract worth $23 million, despite having not yet reached the major leagues. Springer started the 2014 season with Oklahoma City. He hit for a .353 batting average and a .647 slugging percentage before being called up to the major league team in time for their April 16 game.
Springer made his MLB debut on April 16, 2014, at Minute Maid Park against the Kansas City Royals. Batting second and playing right field, Springer collected his first career hit, an infield single, against Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie. Springer hit the first home run of his MLB career on May 8, 2014 at Comerica Park off of Detroit Tigers pitcher Drew Smyly. On June 26, Springer hit his 15th homerun, becoming the first Astros rookie to reach that mark before the All-Star break. On July 23, 2014, Springer was placed on the 15-day disabled list due to a left quad strain. On September 16, the Astros announced that Springer would not play for the remainder of the 2014 season. In 78 games of 2014, Springer batted .231 with 20 home runs, 51 RBI, and struck out 114 times.
During a game against the Texas Rangers on April 12, 2015, Springer robbed Leonys Martín of a potential game-winning grand slam by making a leaping catch by the wall in the 10th inning. The Astros would go on to win over the Rangers 6-4 in 12 innings.
Springer's father, George II, competed in the 1976 Little League World Series. Springer's mother, Laura, competed as a top-level gymnast. Springer has two sisters, both of whom played softball in college.
Springer has participated in a baseball clinic hosted by Matt Barnes at the Newtown, Connecticut, Youth Academy for elementary school students in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
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- Healey, Tim (December 1, 2014). "Barnes' baseball clinic benefits Newtown youth: Red Sox prospect started the event following Sandy Hook tragedy". MLB.com. Retrieved December 1, 2014.
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