Former Toreros in the Pros
Where are they now? A look at Torero athletes who have continued on in their baseball careers
Drafted in 2013 in round 16 to the Chicago Cubs, Mike Wagner is achieving his goals and living his dream, but he hasn’t forgotten who helped him get there.
“Getting drafted was an extremely happy time for my family and me. Anytime you get to take another step towards reaching your goal is a good moment for you and those close to you.” Wagner said. In 2014 Wagner pitched 28 games, had an IP of 61.1 and a 3.23 ERA in A-full for the Kane County Cougars. He ended his season with winning the Western Conference Championship.
During his time at USD, Wagner remembers the influence that his coach, TK or Coach Kincaid, had on his career as a pitcher. “On the field TK taught me to be a pitcher and not a thrower. I came in trying to blow it by everybody, and you just can’t do that in college,” Wagner said. “What TK has taught me has been a huge benefit in pro ball.” Wagner clearly learned something; he threw 60 strikeouts in his 2014 season.
While he is loving focusing on only baseball and developing his mechanics, Wagner appreciates what Coach Hill, Coach Kincaid and his teammates gave him when he pitched for USD. “ I have so many fond memories from playing here but the two that stand out are winning the conference championship junior year and all the rallies we would do in the dugout just to be obnoxious. It was stuff like those rallies that made it obvious that playing for USD was more fun than playing anywhere else.” Wagner said.
Drafted in the first round in 2013 to the Chicago Cubs, third baseman Kris Bryant’s career has taken off. Bryant was recently named the Minor League Player of the year and received the Joe Bauman Home Run Award hitting a total of 43 HR this year and leading the minors. Bryant also led the minors in extra-base-hits. He was honored at Wrigley field on September 17.
In 2014, Bryant played a combined total of 138 games with 492 at bats; he batted a .325 for the overall season. To begin his season Bryant hit a .355 in 68 games with 22 HR and 61 RBI at double-A Tennessee. Bryant was called up to triple-A on June 19 to the Iowa Cubs where he became the first player in the franchise’s history to hit a home run for each of his first five hits. He hit a .295 with 70 game appearances, 21 HR and 52 RBI.
Bryant was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 18th round of the 2010 draft out of Bonanza High School in Las Vegas, Nevada but chose instead to play college ball at USD, leading to his first-round pick in 2013.
Bryant was roommates with Mike Wagner and Dylan Covey, both USD alumni and both also drafted in 2013 to the Chicago Cubs and the Oakland Athletics respectively.
Dylan Covey was drafted in 2013 in the fourth round to the Oakland Athletics. A pitcher, Covey has had a total of 40 game appearances with 8 wins, 7 of those just in his 2014 season. Covey had a 5.46 ERA, appeared in 26 games, threw 92 strikeouts this past season and had an IP of 140.
On August 28, 2014, Covey almost accomplished a no-hitter while pitching for A-Advanced team the Stockton Ports. Pitching seven innings without a hit and seven outs away, he gave up a single in the seventh with two outs to go.
Covey was originally drafted in 2010 in the first round to the Milwaukee Brewers out of Maranatha High School, but was diagnosed with Type I diabetes and instead enrolled at USD. With a good training at the school and support from family, friends and university staff, Covey has become the A’s No. 11 prospect since being drafted in 2013. He’s since got 2 complete games under his belt and only allowed 5 HR in his 2014 season. He is happy and has proven successful with his decision in 2010 to play ball at USD.
As a sophomore at USD, second baseman Zach Walters led the Toreros batting average at a .377. Walters has since played for the Cleveland Indians and the Washington Nationals in the MLB. Walters had played on a total of six teams in his minor league career since being drafted in the ninth round to the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2010. He had a total of 523 game appearances, 1962 at bats, scored 295 runs, had 553 hits, 71 HR and 292 RBI with an overall average of .282.
Walters was acquired by the Washington Nationals in 2011 and from 2011-2013 he batted a .205, hit 3 HR, had 5 RBI and played in 32 games for the Syracuse Chiefs. From the Nationals, Walters was traded to the Cleveland Indians.
In his 2014 season with the Columbus Clippers Walters batted a .310, hit 17 HR, had 56 RBI and made an appearance in 67 games. Previous to his trade, Walters had some frustration after not having consistent playing time with the Nationals over a 27 game stint. He seemed to be gaining comfort with the trade though; in his debut in August he started off the second inning with a double and then later hit two singles.
Among Walter’s many accolades he has won the MiLB.com Organization All-Star award twice in 2010 and 2013 when he played for Arizona and Washington and he also won the Joe Bauman Homerun Award in 2013 also while playing for Washington.