Seven Toreros Taken in 2015 MLB Draft


The last time the San Diego Toreros made a splash on MLB draft day, it was revolved around only one player. That’s because this one name was being pegged as a future superstar in the world of professional baseball, deemed as possibly the next Bryce Harper or Mike Trout.

Kris Bryant was the name that was filling up all of the discussion panels heading into the 2013 MLB draft. Selected as the 2nd pick in the draft, the Chicago Cubs jumped on the opportunity of adding Bryant to their organization after the Houston Astros decided to draft Mark Appel with their first pick. The former USD Torero was a baseball sensation before even playing in a minor league game for the Cubs, and it’s easy to see why. Now with the major league club, Bryant is living up to the hype with a .294 batting average and .403 on-base percentage for the surging and youthful Cubs, who are off to a wonderful start to the season (I may or may not be a biased Cubs fan).

Now, with the 2015 MLB draft finished, the focus on the USD campus is on more than just one standout hitter. Seven Toreros were drafted to major league clubs, including SS Kyle Holder, who was the No. 30 overall pick in the draft, selected by the New York Yankees. Others include RHP David Hill in the fourth round by the Colorado Rockies, C Jesse Jenner in the seventh round by the St. Louis Cardinals,  LHP PJ Conlon in the 13th round by the New York Mets, RHP Anthony McIver in the 15th round by the Minnesota Twins, OF Austin Bailey in the 21st round by the Kansas City Royals, and LHP Jacob Hill in the 32nd round by the Cleveland Indians.

As the highest selection amongst the bunch, Holder was the seventh athlete from USD to receive West Coast Conference Player of the Year honors since 2007 and the only Torero to go in the first round of the draft. He held an astounding .348 battering average with 14 doubles, two triples, four home runs and 31 RBI. Holder’s fielding percentage stood at an incredible .976. He was named to the 30-player Golden Spikes Award Watch List and was selected as one of ten semi-finalists for the Brooks Wallace Award, recognizing the nation’s best college shortstop.

Hill, now playing in the Rockies organization, was only a member of the West Coast Conference for one year, but that was all he needed to make a lasting impact for the Toreros. He won the WCC Pitcher of the Year Award and went 9-3 with a 2.33 ERA. He recorded 115 strikeouts and pitched three complete games, holding batters to a .189 batting average in those impressive outings.

The last WCC player to head to St. Louis was Marco Gonzalez, the standout pitcher from Gonzaga who helped lead the Cardinals to the NLCS in last year’s playoffs. Now, Jesse Jenner will get his chance to shine with the red birds. Jenner has been an All-WCC Selection his past two seasons and bolstered a .314 batting average and .995 fielding percentage (!!!) for the Toreros in 2015. He played at Cal State Fullerton and Grossmont College before joining USD.

Conlon was a first-team All-WCC selection, helping guide USD to the WCC championship. Conlon went 6-4 throughout the year with an impressive 2.17 ERA and 3.28 K/BB (strikeout-to-walk) ratio. He notched a 5-3 record against West Coast Conference action.

McIver sat as the Toreros’ primary closing pitcher throughout the 2015 season. He recorded seven saves in 33.0 innings, striking out 39 while walking only 15. McIver was a redshirt junior for the Toreros who transferred to USD after a stint at Palomar College.

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After having a fantastic senior campaign, Austin Bailey received an All-WCC honorable mention at USD and took home his second All-WCC honor of his career. In 2015, Bailey hit .314 with 65 hits, eight doubles, three triples, one home run and 27 RBI. He stood as the Toreros’ starting center fielder throughout the season.

And finally, after seeing his twin brother David get drafted by Colorado in the fourth round, we’ve got Jacob Hill, the last Torero to be selected in the MLB draft by the Cleveland Indians. Jacob held a 6-2 record on the season after recording 30 strikeouts in 28.2 innings of work as a reliever for San Diego. Before joining USD, Hill posted a 11-0 record and 1.27 ERA with Orange Coast College.

This impressive result in the 2015 MLB draft, as well as the emergence of Kris Bryant, have all contributed to putting San Diego on the map in the world of college baseball. Congratulations to all 2015 USD draftees, and thank you for representing San Diego and the West Coast Conference well!