First and foremost, I love baseball. And as a person who loves baseball, and who loves Saint Mary’s, it saddens me that Saint Mary’s hasn’t had a good track record when it comes to its baseball team. At no point has it ever won the West Coast Conference, and currently there are absolutely ZERO Saint Mary’s alumni on an MLB Roster. That makes sense: if you haven’t ever won the conference, then there is a good chance the players that played won’t be in the Major Leagues. Now, Saint Mary’s has had its fair share of players, but only a handful will be remembered by fans.
For simplicity’s sake, let us look at Saint Mary’s alumni since 1958 -the year the Giants and Dodgers began playing baseball out west (sorry Harry Hooper, MLB Hall of Famer).
The last Gael to make a big-league appearance was Mark Teahen, who made his name playing for the Royals, and ultimatley bouncing around the league from 2005-2011. A career .264 hitter, Teahen had two really good years with Kansas City in 2006 & 2007, hitting .290 and .285 with a combined 25 home runs. In 2006 he had his highest WAR of 3.7, following it up with 2.5 the next year. He is currently a free agent, last playing for the Round Rock Express, a Texas affiliate in the AAA Pacific Coast League.
The player before Teahen to play in the big leagues? That would be James Mouton, who spent eight years in the big leagues, hitting .246 while playing for Houston, Milwaukee, Montreal and San Diego. He last played for the Padres in 2001.
Overall, a total of 12 Gaels have suited up in the Big Leagues since 1958. Only Tom Candiotti made a name for himself: in 16 years, he won 151 games and had a career era of 3.73. Baseball Reference ranks him as the 190th best pitcher to ever play, ahead of Adam Wainright (192) and Barry Zito (193).
Despite Saint Mary’s only producing one historically good Major League Player (sorry Mark Teahen) in the last 50+ years, there is a chance for some recent graduates to make a name for themselves in the Big Leagues while making their school proud. Including Mark Teahen, 13 Gaels have made appearances for Minor League Teams in 2013. While it is too early to tell how recent graduates will fare, the class of 2012 featured two prospects taken in the first two rounds who are both valued highly by their organizations: pitcher Martin Agosta (SFG) and third basemen Patrick Wisdom (STL).
In his first full season, Agosta is 7-3 with a 2.18 ERA and a sweet 2.88 SO/BB ratio (not to mention an All-Star Game start) while throwing for the Augusta Green Jackets. Granted he is pitching at low single-A, the Giants are loaded with top pitching prospects, and it is only time before Agosta gets his chance in advanced-A San Jose. He is currently ranked as the seventh best prospect in the Giants organization.
Wisdom, on the other hand, has struggled hitting consistantly for the single-A Peoria Chiefs. Despite his low .232 average, wisdom does have 13 home runs to his name alone with 55 RBI. His defense is considered major-league quality, and a soon as he can find a way to hit consistently, he should sky rocket up through the farm system and play in the Big Leagues. He is the 15th best prospect in the Cardinals organization.
As far as the recent draft picks, none of them were taken higher than in the 13th round, so they have some proving to do. However, it is fair game in the minors, so anyone who plays well, could play their way into a big league roster spot.
To keep track of current Gael minor-leaguers and to look at all things Gaels as far as professional baseball, I suggest you bookmark the Baseball-Reference page: http://www.baseball-reference.com/schools/index.cgi?key_school=a82a4212
Finally, check back in soon for a look at the future of Saint Mary’s baseball (spoiler alert: if done right, it could be very,very bright).