Area prospects were chosen in nearly every round of the 40-round 2013 MLB Draft. Some are ultimately bound for school while others are bound for Low-A short season. Here are the local highlights of the two days of the MLB Draft.
Big West Conference
A total of 25 players from Big West Conference schools had their names called over the weekend starting with Cal State Fullerton’s Michael Lorenzen with the 38th overall pick on Day 1 and ending with UC Riverside’s Jacob Smigelski at No. 1,169.
Cal Poly led the Big West with six selections.
RHP Chase Johnson was taken on the second day, going 101st overall to San Francisco. Johnson’s stuff is solid but he has had some command issues. After closing for the Mustangs as a junior, Johnson became the setup man as a senior.
Another righty, Joey Wagman, took advantage of his last chance to impress scouts at last weekend’s Los Angeles Regional and went in the 17th round to the Chicago White Sox. Another senior, Wagnman led the conference in wins, strikeouts and strikeouts looking. Four players were chosen out of Long Beach State, headlined by junior pitcher Shane Carle (Pittsburgh, 10th round) and senior first baseman Juan Avila (Miami, 20th round).
But the draft leaves the Dirtbags, a team decimated by injuries this season, with two big question marks.
The Mets took Jeff McNeil, the anchor of the team the past three seasons, in the 12th round. LBSU recruit Jason Martin (Orange Lutheran) was Houston’s eighth-round pick. Both players are true Dirtbags, playing the gritty style of play that defines the program. Whether or not the two of them will stick around to help the once storied program get back to where it used to be is yet to be determined.
While Lorenzen was the recipient of most of Cal State Fullerton’s draft attention, two of the finest players to ever don Titan uniforms will now be wearing new ones.
Richy Pedroza, the scrappy 5-foot-6 shortstop that was a menace on the basepaths for four years and was once called the “Pete Rose of college baseball” by TCU head coach Jim Scholssnagle, was selected by the Cardinals in the 17th round.
First baseman Carlos Lopez tore his ACL before he ever saw the field as a freshman but worked his way back to become a 10th-round pick by Miami.
Joining Lopez will be catcher Chad Wallach (fifth round). The Wallach name is legendary at Cal State Fullerton, as his father Tim, the Dodgers’ third base coach, and brother Matt, a current Dodgers farmhand, all played for the Titans. Brother Brett plays in the Cubs organization.
UC Santa Barbara’s Brandon Trinkwon, a shortstop out Tustin (Beckman High School) became the Gauchos’ highest drafted position player since 2006 when the Dodgers took him in the seventh round. Tyler Mahle, a UCSB commit and the brother of All-American Gaucho closer Greg Mahle, was also selected in the seventh round by the Reds.
Andrew Thurman made history for UC Irvine when Houston chose him on the first day. Thurman was the first pick of the second round and became the highest-drafted Anteater in program history.
Right-hander Nick Vander Tuig was the first of seven selections out of UCLA, going in the sixth round to the Giants. The junior had Tommy John surgery before his senior year of high school, but came back with some more juice on his fast ball. Much like teammate Adam Plutko, who was taken in the 11th round by the Indians, Vander Tuig is an exceptional location pitcher, who rarely misses.
Zack Weiss was the first member of the Bruins lock-down bullpen to be selected, going just three slots behind Vander Tuig at No. 195 by Cincinnati.
Shortstop Pat Valaika is the third of the Valaika brothers to be drafted. His brothers were both drafted out of UC Santa Barbara and the oldest, Chris, is currently the shortstop for the Marlins. Valaika was taken by Colorado in the ninth round and becomes the second-highest drafted Valaika, as Chris was a third-round pick in 2006.
West Coast Conference
Pasadena product Dylan Covey was once a hot prospect coming out of Maranatha high school but a diagnosis of Type-1 diabetes ultimately led Covey to the University of San Diego in order to learn how to balance baseball and his new lifestyle. It was a rocky ride but Oakland still thinks highly of Covey — high enough to choose him with the 131st pick in the third round.
Pepperdine’s big lefty, Scott Frazier, was once thought to be a lock for the first round. But a 4.06 ERA and 5-5 record as the Friday starter in his junior season likely dropped the 6-foot-7 southpaw to the sixth round, where he was picked up by the Cubs.
Loyola Marymount RPH Aaron Griffin, the younger brother of Oakland A’s pitcher A.J. Griffin, was a 10th-round pick by Tampa Bay.
In a down season for the Trojans, just two players were selected: Junior infielder James Roberts and senior infielder Adam Landecker.
Landecker, a senior second baseman out of Calabasas was taken in the 21st round by Pittsburgh, the same club former athletic director and Trojan great Mike Garrett was drafted by. Roberts was drafted as a shortstop by the Indians in the 15th round.