Prep Baseball: Miclat commits to BC
By Mike London
MOUNT ULLA ó West Rowan’s talented baseball team won 13 of its first 14 games in 2004.
The lone loss came at home in extra innings to Jay M. Robinson. The difference-maker was Robinson’s junior shortstop Greg Miclat, a leadoff blur who swiped three bases and scored three runs.
The world spins funny sometimes. Four years later, Miclat is a standout at Virginia, and his brother plays shortstop for West.
Like his older sibling, Philip Miclat can fly (6.65 in the 60), throw and make all the plays at shortstop.
The junior has verbally committed to Boston College.
“Defensively, Philip can play for BC right now,” West coach David Wright said.
Greg was an All-State superstar, one of Baseball America’s top 300 prep prospects nationally and a serious recruiting victory for Virginia when it signed a North Carolina kid that UNC pursued. Greg’s parents were fine with the decision, but surprised. Their daughter was a student at UNC.
Greg proved as good as the hype, earning Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America honors shortly after he arrived in Charlottesville.
The economics major has hit well over .300 three straight years against ACC competition, while stealing 70 bases in 83 attempts against pitchers and catchers who know he’s running.
Injuries to his wrist and shoulder last spring make Greg’s status for next month’s draft uncertain, but there are also scouts out there who believe the 5-foot-9 sparkplug can be the next Dustin Pedroia.
Greg was such a phenom that Philip has been tagged as “Greg’s little brother,” for years, but he handles the label gracefully and with a sense of humor and has emerged as a talented prospect in his own right.
“It was a big relief to know what my future is going to be, and the first thing I did after I committed to BC was call Greg and tell him thank you,” Philip said. “Greg has done a great job, and he is a great player. Being his brother, people realize that I’ve got the same genes. I know that’s always gotten me an extra look.”
Greg’s response to his brother was, “I’m proud of you. I’ve always known that you could do it.”
Felix Miclat, whose parents emigrated to the U.S. from the Philippines, got his sons started early. Philip remembers playing baseball when he was 5, and he took a few beatings in backyard battles against a talented 9-year-old sibling.
The Miclats encountered Wright in Cabarrus County. They liked his coaching style and credit him with giving Greg’s career a boost.
When Philip didn’t progress as quickly as hoped his freshman year at Robinson, he considered transferring to play for Wright, who was coaching Concord High.
When Wright was hired at West prior to the 2006-07 school year, the Miclats followed, and Philip blossomed as one of the Falcons’ varsity standouts as a sophomore.
His season included a .350 batting average, 13 steals and a thousand eye-popping defensive stops.
Like his brother, Philip, who is 5-7, 145 pounds, lacks size and power, but when Wright placed a call to Boston College to tell the Eagles about a kid they needed to check out, no one hung up on him.
BC recruiting coordinator Joe Hastings, a former East Carolina standout, was an assistant at Virginia in 2005 when Greg was coming out of high school and knew the Miclat family very well.
‘BC invited me up there for their Junior Day in February without ever having seen me play,” Philip said. “I enjoyed it a lot, got to see a hockey game, loved the campus buildings.”
Hastings traveled to watch Philip go 0-for-5 against Statesville and East Rowan, but he liked his swing, speed, arm and glove.
BC offered in late March, and Philip gave a verbal commitment. He’ll sign papers in November.
“Virginia Tech had been showing the most interest, but then when Boston College saw they really had a chance to get Philip, they went after him really hard,” Wright said. “I think it’s great. Philip wanted the ACC, wanted to compete against the very best.”
BC isn’t a hard sell academically or athletically, even though it’s taking lumps in a loaded ACC that includes UNC, Miami and Florida State, three of the nation’s best.
The potential drawbacks to BC are distance and weather, but Miclat doesn’t see either as a negative.
“Everyone tells me how cold it’s going to be up there, but I like cold a lot better than heat,” Miclat said. “I went to see BC play at N.C. State the other day, and it was 88 degrees. Give me the cold anytime.
“As far as location, I know that it’s going to be a big change for me going to BC. Some people are afraid to change, but I’m not one of them.”
The Miclats won’t make it to many home games, but they can watch Philip via the Internet. They are already veterans when it comes to the laptop option. It’s how they track Greg’s at-bats when Virginia travels to Miami and Tallahassee.
Philip is batting .371 this season with 18 steals as a No. 2 hitter, and Wright has noted changes since his shortstop committed.
“Philip’s work ethic has gone straight up because now he knows exactly what he’s working toward,” he said. “He’s just starting to put on some muscle.”
Miclat confirmed he’s added 14 pounds since he started lifting weights seriously three months ago, but he’s never going to be Prince Fielder.
He’s still waiting on his first homer ó at any level.
“My brother has hit three in his life,” Philip said. “Two when he was 11 and one in a summer league. I haven’t hit one yet, but I’m inching up on it, and if the wind’s blowing out someday, it will happen. I hit two out in BP the other day, and that made me feel pretty good. I’d like to have a little pop in my bat. Maybe a little more than my brother.”
With the joking reference to his famous sibling, Philip grinned and reached down to tug at his baggy University of Virginia shorts.
In 2010, Virginia will be one of his ACC rivals, and those shorts will be stored in a trunk somewhere.
“My mom (Vicki) is very happy with my BC decision because she’s big on their academics,” Philip said. “Maybe she’ll order me some BC stuff pretty soon.”
Contact Mike London at 704-797-4259 or email@example.com.