The second time looks like it's the charm for Colin Kaline and the Detroit Tigers.
Detroit drafted the graduate in the 26th round (797th pick) of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft on Tuesday.
The Tigers drafted the grandson of Hall of Famer Al Kaline in the 25th round of the 2007 draft after his senior season at Groves. Instead of playing professionally he chose to attend Florida Southern College in Lakeland, FL.
He just finished his fourth year as a starter for the Moccasins. The 22-year-old second baseman hit .287 as a senior and led the team with a .437 on-base percentage.
“I’m happy for him,” Florida Southern baseball coach Pete Meyer said in a phone interview on Wednesday. “Colin is a baseball player. That’s about as high of a compliment as you could get. He lives, eats and sleeps baseball. He just knows how to play the game.”
He also was a tremendous student at the university. He was FSC’s top male scholarship-athlete in 2011 with a 3.61 grade point average and was an honors student all four years.
“He’s not only a good baseball player, he’s as bright as bright can be,” Meyer said.
Neither thing will come as a surprise to the faculty and coaches at Groves.
Kaline was a four-year starter for the Falcons and an all-state baseball selection as a senior. He finished his high school career with a batting average of over .400. In his junior and senior years he only stuck out three times in 187 at-bats. He excelled academically while putting up those big numbers and was a member of the National Honor Society.
His work ethic and intelligence made an impact on the field at Groves and Florida. Meyer doesn’t think it will be any different as he enters the minor league system.
“He will set the tone on his team on how to play the game and how to work,” Meyer said. “He’s a coach’s dream, you never have to worry about him working hard or being in the game.”
Detroit fans needn't worry about Kaline failing to carry on the family’s legacy. Meyer is confident that the younger Kaline will do the family name proud.
“He has a tremendous amount of respect for the family name,” Meyer said. “But he also has tremendous respect for the game of baseball. That’s one of the things that I think has been passed down from his grandfather.
"Too often you see young guys that make mistakes. They have raw tools. Colin is not a raw tools guy. He’s a baseball player that plays it the right way every day.”