Eric Hosmer and Deven Marrero starred at first base and shortstop, respectively, for a 2008 American Heritage School team that won a state and national title. They were separated by a year, but both players were heavily recruited by the nation's elite baseball programs, including Arizona State.
But in Hosmer's case, college baseball programs were competing against the pros -- the Kansas City Royals made the Cooper City native the third pick in the league's draft. And on the day before the deadline, Hosmer signed with the Royals.
Marrero wasn't nearly the pro prospect that Hosmer was and so after being selected in the 17th round in 2009, the shortstop from Davie accepted a scholarship at Arizona State.
How are these young South Floridians doing on their Major League Baseball career plans?
Pretty damned well, it seems. Despite struggling last year in his first full year in the minor leagues, Hosmer is tearing the cover off the ball for the Royals' farm team in Wilmington, Delaware. Six weeks into the season, the 20-year-old sports a .387 batting average.
And Marrero, a freshman who this spring wrested the starting shortstop job away from an upperclassman, is hitting over .400 for Arizona State, the number-two-ranked college baseball team that looks destined for the College World Series.
The Arizona Republic wrote a feature story about the two former teammates this past weekend. Hosmer had this to say about Marrero:
"He has probably the best hands at shortstop I've ever seen. He knows the game so well, it's almost instinct. He goes about his business like a professional."
Like a "professional," you say? Is Marrero coming home to visit his folks anytime soon? Because maybe he can give lessons on professionalism to the shortstop for the Marlins.
If Marrero continues his hot hitting and slick fielding, he's a sure thing to join Hosmer in a professional baseball uniform. Who knows? Maybe Marrero can play for his hometown team after Ramirez takes his bad attitude to another city.