As the calendar turns from March to April, the beginning of the Major League Baseball season arrives.
Cal Poly has a deep history of players taking the next step, including Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith. Here is a look at where recent Mustang alumni find themselves to start the baseball season.
Lee was a top prospect coming out of high school and he proved his status during his two seasons at Cal Poly, winning the Brooks Wallace award, which is given to the best college shortstop in America, and Big West Field Player of the Year in 2022.
The Minnesota Twins took him 8th overall in the 2022 Draft and he worked his way up through the minor league system quickly, up to Double-A at the end of the year.
The Twins invited the 31st-ranked prospect in baseball to spring training as a Non-Roster Invite, as he is not on the 40-man roster. Lee will find himself back at the Double-A level in Wichita to open the season up.
The 2022 Big West Pitcher of the Year, Thorpe was drafted 61st overall to the New York Yankees and did not end up playing in minor league baseball at the conclusion of the Mustangs 2022 campaign. Thorpe will start the season in High-A with the Hudson Valley Renegades.
The closer was taken with pick 245 of the draft to the Atlanta Braves and ended up playing with the Braves’ Florida Complex League after the 2022 Cal Poly season. There, he appeared in six games, giving up six runs in 6 ⅔ innings. Franks was assigned to Single-A to play for the Augusta GreenJackets to begin the year.
The outfielder was taken in 2012 after being named Big West Player Of The Year and has since carved out a solid career in the big leagues. His 2022 campaign in the Pacific Northwest for the Seattle Mariners was mainly plagued by a serious ankle injury, as Haniger played only 57 games.
This offseason, he signed a one-year contract to play with the San Francisco Giants, where fellow Mustang alumnus Mike Krukow will call his games. He will open the season on the injured list.
Howard walked onto the Cal Poly baseball team and quickly turned himself into one of the best pitchers in the conference. Taken in 2017, he worked his way through the minors before debuting in the shortened 2020 season for the Philadelphia Phillies.
He finds himself currently in the Texas Rangers system, which recently made big splashes on pitching. Howard has a spot on the Rangers’ Opening Day roster.
The right-handed pitching Wagman does not currently have an American baseball organization, as the last team he played on was the Bravos de León in the Mexican League. However, he looks to earn a contract with his play in the World Baseball Classic with Team Israel.
The former All-Big West pitcher Dollard was named the Seattle Mariners minor league Player of the Year by Baseball America and was ranked as the ninth-ranked prospect in the Mariners system by MLB.com. He will make the jump to the Triple-A team, the Tacoma Rainiers, to kick off the season.
Woo joins Dollard in the Mariners system. After missing 2021 to Tommy John surgery, Woo burst onto the scene in the minors and fall league, making him the seventh-ranked prospect in the Mariners system. Woo will be one level below Dollard in Double-A for the Arkansas Travelers.
The right-hander made his debut last year for the Chicago Cubs after being drafted in 2017. He was released by the Cubs after last season and signed with the Phillies, where he will start the season in Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
Other Cal Poly Baseball alumni include Justin Bruihl (Los Angeles Dodgers) Alex McKenna (Houston Astros), Chase Watkins (Chicago Cubs), Bradlee Beesley (Chicago Cubs), Andrew Alvarez (Washington Nationals), Myles Emmerson (Los Angeles Angels) and Mark Mathias (Pittsburgh Pirates).