League lays claim to 66 professional baseball players, including 12 major leaguers
FRISCO, Texas – A total of 66 Southland Conference baseball alumni recently completed the 2021 regular season with their respective MLB organizations. Below is a final look at how everyone performed.
The season continues for St. Louis Cardinals first-baseman Paul Goldschmidt (Texas State) and Milwaukee Brewers second-baseman Jace Peterson (McNeese) as the NL Central clubs prepare for the postseason. The Cardinals face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL Wild Card at 7:10 p.m. CT Wednesday, and the Brewers open a best-of-five game series against the Atlanta Braves at 3:37 p.m. CT Friday.
Four former league stars hoisted trophies at various minor league levels, including Akron RubberDucks pitcher Nick Mikolajchak (Sam Houston), Quad Cities River Bandits catcher William Hancock (Central Arkansas), Bowling Green Hot Rods catcher Luis Trevino (Abilene Christian) and Eugene Emeralds pitcher Austin Reich (Northwestern State).
Mikolajchak pitched two no-hit innings in game one of Akron’s three-game sweep of the Bowie Baysox for the Double-A Northeast title. Hancock scored two runs to help Quad Cities to a 3-2 series win over the Cedar Rapids Kernels in the High-A Central finals. Reich struck out five in 2.2 innings over two relief appearances in Eugene’s 3-1 series victory over the Spokane Indians for the High-A West championship.
Southland alumni accounted for three of the top 10 base-stealers in the Triple-A West, led by league-leader Bryce Johnson (Sam Houston) with 30. Drew Avans (Southeastern) and Nick Heath (Northwestern State) tied for sixth with 19 steals apiece.
The crop of young talent to hail from the conference is headlined by MLB’s No. 79 prospect Colton Cowser, who became the highest drafted player out of the Southland when he was selected fifth overall by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2021 MLB Draft. After a swift promotion to the team’s Low-A affiliate, he posted a slash line of .347/.476/.429 with 26 RBI, 22 walks and 22 runs in 25 games.
The league also accounts for three individuals in the Top-30 prospects for their respective clubs, including New York Mets’ No. 25 prospect Eric Orze (New Orleans), New York Yankees’ No. 15 prospect Hayden Wesneski (Sam Houston) and Los Angeles Dodgers’ No. 28 prospect Gavin Stone (Central Arkansas).
Both progressing quickly in the New York Mets’ system, Orze and Adam Oller (Northwestern State) were both promoted to Triple-A affiliate Syracuse on Aug. 10, and the duo combined to go 5-1 with a 2.40 ERA, a .177 opponent batting average and 59 strikeouts across 56.1 innings.
In his fourth season as a utility man for the Royals, the 2013 Southland Player & Hitter of the Year tied for the team lead with six triples and finished third on the team in doubles (27) and walks (43). Over the final 23 games, Dozier owned a slash line of .293/.337/.667 with 14 extra-base hits and 15 RBI. He finished the year hitting .216 with 55 runs, 54 RBI and 16 home runs.
The two-time Southland Hitter of the Year (2008-09) led the team and ranked in the top five among National League hitters in runs (102), hits (177) and doubles (36). Goldschmidt also led the team in walks (67), batting average (.294) and on-base percentage (.365). In his 11th season, he ranks third among active players in career OBP (.389), only behind Mike Trout and Joey Votto.
In his third season with the Rockies, the 2013 Southland Pitcher of the Year went 3-7 with a 6.46 ERA in 24 games, including 18 starts. Gonzalez allowed just two earned runs over seven innings in the team’s loss to the Cardinals on July 2, marking his third quality start of the year. He is 9-23 with a 5.64 ERA in five seasons in the bigs.
In his first season with the Rays organization, Head went 2-0 with a 2.31 ERA and 32 strikeouts over 35 innings in 27 appearances. He posted a .175 opponent batting average and a 0.86 WHIP. After being recalled on Sept. 7, Head tossed 9.1 innings across seven outings without allowing an earned run. He struck out seven, walked none and allowed just two hits.
In his first season with the Pirates, Keller struck out 36 batters over 33.1 innings in 32 appearances. He earned his first win on the year on Sept. 11 with a hitless inning of relief versus the Nationals and tallied a season-high four strikeouts over two frames against the Reds on Sept. 27. Opposing batters hit .234 off the former Lion.
Tied with Paul Goldschmidt as the longest-tenured Southland alumni in the majors, the 2008 Southland strikeouts leader (119) led the team in ERA (3.37) and went 12-7 with 125 strikeouts in 28 starts. In the month of August, Miley went 3-0 with a 2.05 ERA and 24 strikeouts over 30.2 innings. He was one of nine pitchers to toss a no-hitter in 2021, achieving the feat against Cleveland on May 7.
In his fourth season with the Royals, the 2014 Second-Team All-Southland honoree hit .225 with 29 RBI, nine home runs and 23 runs scored in 84 games. In August, he hit .246 at the plate with nine RBI and five runs. O’Hearn drove in a pair of runs with an RBI double and a run-scoring single in a 7-6 win over the Astros on Aug. 16.
In his second season with the Brewers, the two-time First-Team All-Southland (2010-11) honoree hit.247 at the plate with 36 runs, 31 RBI, 18 extra-base hits and 10 stolen bases. Peterson flourished at the plate in August, hitting .353 with a .966 OPS, seven RBI and nine runs scored. He posted five multi-hit games, including a 5-for-5 effort with four RBI and three runs in a 17-4 win over the Cubs on Aug. 12.
In his third season with the Blue Jays, the 2014 Southland Relief Pitcher of the Year went 7-1 with 23 saves on the year across a team-high 62 appearances. Romano struck out 85 batters over 63 innings. He has converted each of his last 15 save opportunities. From Aug. 7-Oct. 1, Romano was 3-0 with a 1.09 ERA, 14 saves, 37 strikeouts and seven walks over 24.2 innings.
In his first full season with the Diamondbacks after a trade last August, the two-time Second Team All-Southland (2012-13) pick went 4-9 with a 4.83 ERA and 124 strikeouts over 45 appearances. Opponents hit just .222 off Smith on the year. After transitioning back to the bullpen on Aug. 12, Smith owned a 2.70 ERA and 23 strikeouts over 26.2 innings.
The former Bearkat finished his seventh major-league season with a 2.79 ERA and 74 strikeouts across 61.1 innings in 65 appearances. Tepera pitched 43 games for the Cubs with 16 holds and 50 strikeouts in 43.1 innings before being traded to the White Sox, where he came in for 22 games with 6 holds and 24 strikeouts through 18 innings. Opponents hit just .164 off the righty on the year.
In his fourth season with the Rangers, the two-time All-Southland (2013-14) honoree caught 88 games hit .239 at the plate with 30 RBI and 23 runs. From Aug. 18 -Oct. 3, Trevino hit .286 with 13 RBI, nine runs and eight doubles. He registered eight multi-hit performances in that span, including a 3-for-3 outing with a home run against the Orioles on Sept. 25.
In his third season with the Dodgers organization, the two-time All-Southland (2017-18) honoree led the team in triples (4) and stolen bases (19) and ranked second with 43 walks.
The three-time All-Southland honoree and 2017 Freshman of the Year was claimed off waivers by the Yankees on Aug. 3 and had eight RBI and 13 runs scored in 17 games for New York’s Triple-A squad.
The four-time All-Southland (2015-18) selection was promoted to Milwaukee’s Triple-A affiliate on Sept. 1 and slashed .288/.383/.462 with five RBI and eight runs scored in 19 games.
A 14th round pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, Green went 8-4 with a 7.34 ERA in 26 appearances for Arizona’s Triple-A squad. He struck out 62 batters through 99.1 innings.
In his first season with the Diamondbacks organization, the two-time Southland stolen bases leader (2015-16) paced the Triple-A team with 19 steals and tied for third with five triples.
In his fifth season with the Giants organization, the two-time Southland hits leader (2016-17) led the Pacific Coast League with 30 steals and paced the club’s Triple-A squad with 48 walks.
The second-highest drafted Demon in program history was assigned to Miami’s Triple-A affiliate on June 11 and finished the year 3-1 with a 5.59 ERA and two saves in 22 relief appearances.
In his first season with the Mets organization, the three-time All-Southland (2014-16) pick went 4-1 with a 2.45 ERA and 43 strikeouts over 44 innings after being promoted to the Triple-A club on Aug. 10.
The Mets’ No. 25 prospect, Orze posted a 2.19 ERA with 16 strikeouts over 12.1 innings in 10 appearances after being elevated to New York’s Triple-A affiliate on Aug. 10.
Robbie Podorsky (McNeese) – El Paso Chihuahuas
In his fifth season with the Padres organization, the 2017 Southland steals leader (39) hit .250 at the plate with 13 runs scored, 10 stolen bases and five RBI in 33 games for the Padres’ Triple-A team.
Tate Scioneaux (Southeastern) – Albuquerque Isotopes
In his first full season with the Rockies’ organization, the 2014 Southland Tournament MVP went 3-2 with a 5.74 ERA and 54 strikeouts through 53.1 innings in 46 appearances at the AA/AAA levels.
Tice was claimed off waivers by the Arizona Diamondbacks and subsequently assigned to the team’s Triple-A affiliate on July 21. He struck out 11 in 9.2 innings over 11 appearances.
The 2017 Third-Team All-Southland pick was signed by the Tigers on July 17 and assigned to the team’s Triple-A affiliate on July 20. Vest went 1-3 with a 4.91 ERA and 25 strikeouts over 25.2 innings.
The Yankees’ No. 15 prospect went 2-1 with a 3.27 ERA and 12 strikeouts over 11 innings in three appearances after being promoted to the Yankees’ Triple-A club on Sept. 21.
In his second season with the Rangers organization, Anderson went 2-1 with three holds in 20 appearances after being promoted to Texas’ Double-A squad on July 7.
In his fourth season with the A’s organization, Briggs went 3-2 with 41 strikeouts over 55 innings in 41 relief appearances for Oakland’s Double-A team.
The only three-time all-tournament pick in Southland history, Fisher recently completed his sixth season with the White Sox organization. He led the Double-A squad in batting average (.287) and OBP (.359).
In his fifth season with the Mariners organization, the two-time All-Southland (2015-16) honoree went 4-0 with a 3.40 ERA and nine holds in 32 appearances out of the bullpen for Seattle’s Double-A squad.
Aaron Hernandez (Texas A&M-Corpus Christi) – Rocket City Trash Pandas
The highest-drafted player out of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Hernandez went 3-4 with 58 strikeouts over 44.1 innings in 10 starts for the club’s Double-A team.
In his third season with the Cubs organization, King was promoted to the club’s Double-A affiliate on Sept. 2 and struck out four over six innings in four appearances to close out the year.
Mikolajchak, who finished his career ranked eighth in Southland history with 22 career saves, tallied eight saves and 57 strikeouts across 39.2 innings in 30 appearances for Cleveland’s Double-A team.
Addison Russ (HBU) – Somerset Patriots
In his first season with the Yankees organization following a trade last August, Russ went 3-2 with a 1.91 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 33 innings across 27 appearances for New York’s Double-A squad.
In his fifth season with the Yankees organization, the 2017 First-Team All-Southland honoree went 6-3 with a 3.76 ERA and 74 strikeouts across 64.2 innings in 15 appearances for New York’s Double-A squad.
In his fourth season with the Reds organization, Sceroler went 1-4 with 48 strikeouts through 40.2 innings in 12 appearances for Cincinnati’s Double-A squad.
In his second season with the Cubs organization, Ueckert went 1-1 with a 1.45 ERA, eight saves and 37 strikeouts in 26 appearances after being promoted to Chicago’s Double-A squad on May 11.
In his fourth season with the Giants organization, the 2018 Third-Team All-Southland selection hit .244 with 11 runs scored in 18 games after being promoted to San Francisco’s High-A squad on Aug. 11.
Aidan Anderson (McNeese) – Jersey Shore BlueClaws
In his third season with the Phillies organization, the 2019 Southland Tournament MVP had five saves, four holds and 43 strikeouts through 47.2 innings in 27 games for Philadelphia’s High-A team.
The former Bearkat reached a free-agent deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks on July 14 and went 2-0 with a 4.50 ERA and 24 strikeouts across 26 innings in seven starts at the Low-A and High-A levels.
The 2019 Third Team All-Southland honoree went 1-1 with a 3.40 ERA, 48 strikeouts and just eight walks through 47.2 innings in 25 appearances for the Rockies’ High-A team.
Jason Blanchard (Lamar) – Fort Wayne TinCaps
In his third season with the Padres organization, the 2019 Third-Team All-Southland honoree was assigned to San Diego’s High-A team on May 4 but spent the season on the 60-day injured list.
The 2019 Second-Team All-Southland honoree and brother of Carlos Correa posted a slash line of .314/.337/.449 in 45 games after being promoted to Houston’s High-A team on July 19.
In his third season with the Mariners organization, the 2018 Second Team All-Southland pick reached base at a .338 clip with 39 walks, 36 runs and 23 RBI in 72 games for Seattle’s High-A team.
Kyle Gruller (HBU) – Asheville Tourists
The 2019 Third-Team All-Southland pick posted a 4.30 ERA with 37 strikeouts over 29.1 innings in 10 appearances after being promoted to the Houston Astros’ High-A affiliate on Aug. 3.
In his fourth season with the Royals organization, the 2018 First-Team All-Southland pick finished with 35 RBI, 30 runs and 28 walks in 69 games for Kansas City’s High-A squad.
In his third season with the Mariners organization, the 2019 Southland wins leader (nine) went 4-2 with 44 strikeouts across 48.1 innings in 25 appearances for Seattle’s High-A affiliate.
In his third season with the Giants organization, Reich went 2-1 with a 1.56 ERA with 51 strikeouts across 34.2 innings for San Francisco’s High-A affiliate.
A two-time All-Southland selection and ninth-round selection in the 2021 MLB Draft, Rogers tallied 10 runs, eight RBI and three home runs after being called up to Cincinnati’s High-A club on Aug. 11.
In his second season with the A’s organization, the 2017 Southland Hitter of the Year posted a slash line of .260/.362/.469 and ranked second on Oakland’s High-A squad with 12 home runs.
The Dodgers’ No. 28 prospect, Stone struck out 37 batters, opposite just five walks, in five starts after being promoted to Los Angeles’ High-A squad on Aug. 17.
Bryce Tassin (Southeastern) – West Michigan Whitecaps
In his third season with the Tigers organization, Tassin went 4-5 with a 2.44 ERA, six saves and four holds in 44.1 innings pitched over 30 relief appearances for Detroit’s High-A squad.
In his third season with the Rays organization, the 2019 Southland Player of the Year owned a .295/.373/.438 slash line with 14 RBI and 13 doubles for Tampa Bay’s High-A team.
In his third season with the Orioles organization, the 2019 Second-Team All-Southland selection hit .223 with 20 runs, 14 RBI and 12 walks in 31 games for Baltimore’s Low-A affiliate.
The No. 79 prospect in MLB and highest-drafted player out of the Southland (fifth overall) posted a slash line of .347/.476/.429 with 26 RBI, 22 walks and 22 runs in 25 games for Baltimore’s Low-A team.
The 2021 Southland strikeout leader (121) didn’t allow an earned run and punched out 21 batters in 12 innings across five appearances for Cleveland’s Rookie and Low-A teams.
In his first season with the Mets organization, Faith went 3-5 with 55 strikeouts over 41.2 innings in 25 appearances for New York’s Low-A squad.
A fifth-round pick by the Pirates in the 2020 MLB Draft, Hofmann went 6-4 with a 3.59 ERA and 103 strikeouts over 82.2 innings in 22 appearances for Pittsburgh’s Low-A team.
In his third season with the Mets organization, the 2019 Second Team All-Southland selection was assigned to New York’s Low-A squad on May 4 but spent the season on the 60-day injured list.
In his second season with the Astros’ Rookie affiliate, the 2019 Southland Newcomer of the Year went 1-2 with a 1.20 ERA and 46 strikeouts through 30 innings for Houston’s Rookie and Low-A clubs.
Speer was signed by the White Sox on July 5, and he went 2-2 with 20 strikeouts over 19.1 innings in 19 appearances for Chicago’s Rookie and Low-A clubs.
In his third season with the A’s organization, Kubo went 2-2 with 20 strikeouts through 21.1 innings across 11 appearances for Oakland’s Rookie and Low-A squads.
The 2019 Second Team All-Southland honoree was drafted in the seventh round of the 2021 MLB Draft and signed by the Kansas City Royals.
Levi David (Northwestern State) – New York Mets
The 2021 Third-Team All-Southland pick was drafted in the ninth round of the 2021 MLB Draft and signed by the New York Mets.
The 2019 Third-Team All-Southland honoree reached a free-agent deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 26.
Will Warren (Southeastern) – New York Yankees
A 2021 First-Team All-Southland nod, Warren was drafted in the eighth round of the 2021 MLB Draft and signed by the New York Yankees.