Michael Cantu needs a change of scenery.
The Texas Longhorns catcher will complete his final season of collegiate eligibility at Tarleton State, a Division II school in Stephenville, according to Kendall Rogers of d1baseball.com.
Ranked as the No. 1 catcher in high school by Baseball America out of Corpus Christi Moody, Cantu faced high expectations when he came to Austin — he was refined behind the plate and featured big power potential at the plate.
As a freshman, the 6’3, 240-pounder was named to the Big 12 All-Freshman team after leading the Longhorns in walks, but only hit .249 and didn’t show the anticipated power he flashed in high school with only one home run.
The following season actually saw Cantu struggle more at the plate, even though he remained in the starting lineup for 35 games — he hit merely .214 and did not hit a single home run.
The struggles at the plate continued as a junior, though Cantu did finally flash his power with six home runs, but only managed to hit .222.
The emergence of junior Michael McCann, who had sat out the 2016 season, but emerged as one of the breakout players under new head coach David Pierce, limited Cantu’s time behind the plate.
And Cantu’s performance against Long Beach State in the NCAA Regionals may have sealed his fate at Texas — he made several uncharacteristic throwing errors and was as responsible as any single player for the losses that ended the season.
Despite being selected by the Cubs in the 30th round of the 2014 MLB Draft after falling due to signability concerns, Cantu was not selected in last June’s draft.
Now he will finish his eligibility elsewhere in hopes of resurrecting what was once a promising baseball career.