By Dylan Wolter
July 14, 2015
“I’ll take every player I can that’s like Mike Paez,” praised his current head coach Mike Roberts. On a team that has struggled all over the field this summer, Michael Paez has provided consistency and talent for the Cotuit Kettleers. The young infielder from Coastal Carolina has been nationally recognized for his collegiate accomplishments by being named to the All-Atlantic Region second team, a prestigious award for any college baseball player.
To go along with the all region team, Paez was named to his first team All-Conference in the Big South. In further admiration of his skills, he along with 24 other players was nominated for the 2015 Brooks Wallace award, an honor that is given to the best shortstop in the country. Paez certainly racked up the hardware in his sophomore season, but is more focused on team accolades.
“It’s a nice thing to have, especially for all the hard work I put in throughout the year at Coastal,” mentioned a humbled Paez on his all regional honor, “I’m just happy we made a regional and have a young team coming back next year. The award itself, it comes along with working hard and having a good year, but ultimately I like team awards better.”
Paez is a team player and his ability is ubiquitous, shining all over the diamond for the Cotuit Kettleers this season. Although a natural shortstop, he can play all over the field and will happily go wherever his coaches put him. Fans have seen him at shortstop and second base this summer, a position that he projects to at the next level, but also played outfield in college. He attacks the baseball in the field but also at the plate, something Roberts considers as Paez’s best skill. His speed is worth noting as well, when he has gotten on base so far this year, he does not hesitate to run.
There is nothing that Paez can’t do at the dish. He is an on base machine that will work walks, sacrifice hits to move runners over, or provide power at the top of a lineup. In the big south, Paez was top ten in a plethora of offensive categories by the year’s end including runs (58), on base percentage (.436) and stolen bases (19). He also hit .326, tallying 8 home runs with 42 RBI’s and 29 walks.
The young shortstop who admitted that the all regional honor was the best he’s ever received, found out about the award through twitter. “My school tweeted at me, I had no idea about it,” remarked Paez who was shortly swarmed by texts from his family and friends.
Paez, a native from Miami, claims that attending Coastal Carolina was the best decision he’s ever made, a decision that helped him hone his skills and improve his game. “My coaches, who helped me grow up so much from my freshman to my sophomore year, have been with me through everything. They definitely have helped me grow and I’ve seen myself getting better and better every year,” alleged an appreciative Paez.
Paez has certainly shined here in the cape as probably the best overall player the Cotuit Kettleers have to offer. He has drawn awe from scouts for his all around game and approach at the plate. In 26 games, Paez leads the team with a .321 batting average, 13 runs, 16 walks, and an astonishing .450 on base percentage. He is also second in RBI’s with nine and has a homer to his name as well. Paez has really done it all for Manager Mike Roberts who loves his backyard instincts and his willingness to get dirty.
Mike Roberts has coached an array of talented players in his career but feels that Paez has what it takes to perform at the next level. Paez’s skill-set and all around game remind Roberts of a player he once coached before in the Cape Cod League, Josh Harrison. In what is an interesting comparison, Harrison was named to the all star game last year following a breakout season. The comparison is symbolic of the type of player the head coach thinks Paez is.
“I tell people he is a lot like Josh Harrison to me,” admired Roberts, “Josh, I wasn’t sure was a major league player, but I knew that he was a baseball rat, strong, and really knew how to play the game. It’s just fun to watch them both play.”
Going forward Paez is not satisfied with anything. He has big dreams and knows he has to improve in all aspects of his game if he wants to make an impact at the next level. As for the majors, it’s something that the talented infielder has his eyes set on, “that’s obvious,” remarked Paez with wide eyes and a smile, “that’s the ultimate goal for all of us here.”
Paez has been rewarded for his talent and the numbers he put up in college. The all regional honors are a tremendous accomplishment that any player would be proud of and the award was well deserved. It has been a joy to watch Paez this season; he plays the game with tremendous enthusiasm and effort that make him a pleasure to watch. Paez may have a long way to go to reach his ultimate dream of major league baseball, but it’s important to recognize his accomplishments and the ability he has already proven in his young baseball career.