Anxious to launch their professional baseball careers, four former Western Nevada College players have signed contracts with Major League Baseball teams, less than two weeks after being drafted.
Infielder Taylor Smart signed with the Seattle Mariners on June 11, pitcher Andrew Woeck came to terms with the Tampa Bay Rays on June 12, pitcher Brandon Show officially agreed with the Boston Red Sox on Sunday and pitcher Luke Eubank signed with the Cleveland Indians on Monday, Western Nevada College baseball coach D.J. Whittemore said.
“Since I was a little kid I’ve wanted to be a big league baseball player,” Show said. “This is the first step in reaching that dream. It’s all about working hard now that I’m here, and doing what I can to climb the ladder in the minors.”
All four players were selected on the third day of the MLB draft on June 7 along with pitcher/outfielder Conor Harber, who was taken by Rays in the 40th round.
In the nine-year history of WNC’s baseball program, 22 players have signed deals with MLB teams, including 11 since June 2011.
“So many young players grow up with this dream of playing professionally,” Whittemore said. “For these four Wildcats to now be living that dream, it is just very rewarding. Incredible amounts of work go into making this day of signing a pro contract a reality. We are very proud of them, and we look for good things out of their careers.”
Last weekend, Smart, who was selected in the 26th round by the Mariners, started his minor league career for the Everett Aquasox in Everett, Wash. Smart has appeared in four games for the Aquasox thus far and has already connected for his first hit as a professional.
Show, who had one year of eligibility remaining at the University of San Diego, has reported to Boston’s Single-A affiliate, Lowell. The defending World Series champions selected the lanky right-hander in the 38th round.
“My thing was, my dream was never to be a Division I baseball player; my dream was always to be a pro baseball player,” Show said.
Lowell’s coaches plan to bring Show along slowly since he just completed a full season of college baseball.
“They don’t want to overdo us,” said Show, who threw his first bullpen session on Wednesday. “They want all of the new pitchers to learn the routine and get used to being in the minor leagues a little bit before we play in a game.”
In 16 relief appearances and one start for San Diego in 2014, Show compiled a 1-0 record. During the 2012-13 seasons at WNC, Show posted a 4-1 record.
Woeck is recovering from Tommy John surgery to his right elbow. The 2011-12 WNC pitcher put up impressive numbers during his two seasons with the North Carolina State Wolf Pack. He was 3-1 with a 2.17 earned run average during an abbreviated senior season after posting a 6-1 record and 3.09 ERA as a junior.
He was chosen in the 31st round by the Rays and was pleased that he wouldn’t need to hurry his recovery to catch on with a major league team.
“With the fact that I won’t be trying out for teams and pursuing a free-agent contract, it gives me the ability to slow down and make sure I’m at 100 percent,” he said.
The Indians drafted Eubank, who played for WNC in 2013, in the 15th round after he dazzled for Oxnard College in 2014. Eubank was 12-1 with a 0.94 ERA for Oxnard and was tabbed as the California Community College Athletic Association Pitcher of the Year.