For years, even decades, the University of Virginia has been known as a hotbed of talent for the sport of football. (Every NFL draft since the early 1980s has seen at least one NFL player get drafted out of UVA.) But make way, football, Major League Baseball is gaining steam.
As of Tuesday, September 15th, when the Orioles recalled P Tyler Wilson (Midlothian) from Triple-A Norfolk, a record 10 Wahoos appear on major league rosters. Here is the rundown of the UVA-to-MLB pipeline:
San Francisco Giants reliever Javier Lopez (Fairfax) played at Virginia from 1996-1998. He currently leads all active major league players with 4 World Series rings. (2007 with the Red Sox and the three SF titles of the 2010s.)
St Louis Cardinals IF Mark Reynolds (Va Beach) played at Virginia from 2001-2004. His 236 career homers are 23rd among active major league players.
Washington Nationals IF Ryan Zimmerman (Va Beach) played at Virginia from 2003-2005. In the 2005 draft, he was selected in the first round by Washington, the very first draft choice in the history of the Washington Nationals, who had just moved to DC from Montreal. Zimmerman is the last player left from the team’s inaugural season in Washington, and has clearly become the face of the franchise. His 10 career Walk-off homers are 2 short of the NL record). On March 30th, 2008, he christened the new Nationals Park with a walk-off HR to beat the Braves. In the summer of 2015, he cracked the 200 HR milestone. In his time as a National, his resume also includes an all-star game, a Gold Glove, and 2 Silver Sluggers.
Oakland Athletics P Sean Dolittle played at Virginia from 2005-2007. In 2014 he was 10th in the AL with 22 saves, and made his first all-star game.
Also currently on Major League rosters: Cleveland Indians P Kyle Crockett (Poquoson), Arizona Diamondbacks IF Phil Gosselin, Tampa Bay Rays OF Brandon Guyer (Herndon), Seattle Mariners C John Hicks (Richmond), San Francisco Giants OF Jarrett Parker (Stafford), and Wilson.
Major League Baseball, Wahoo strong!!!!!!!!
Chris Taylor (Virginia Beach) back with the Mariners. He had opened the season on the DL, then optioned back to AAA. He batted .313 in 21 games with the Rainiers.
Taylor batted .287 in 47 games in 2014 with the Mariners.
C John Hicks (Richmond) certain to start 2015 at AAA, but could be in Seattle this season.
Check out @MiLB’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/MiLB/status/575833721363787777
Mariners pitching prospect Danny Hultzen (UVA) working his way back, with his first game action in 18 months today.
Danny Hultzen (UVA) is now 25, but is slowly getting back into the Seattle Mariners’ plans.
Joe Saunders (Springfield/Virginia Tech) won 17 games with the Angels in 2008 and made the AL All-Star Team, and won 16 games the following season. But he has fallen on considerable hard times since. He has not posted an above-.500 record since. He has bounced around from Anaheim to Arizona, to Baltimore, to Seattle, to Texas, and finished the 2014 season back in Baltimore, where he pitched 6 games in relief and posted a horrendous ERA over 13.
During his 2013 run in Seattle, he started 32 games and posted an ERA of 5.26, but did manage to win 11 games, an accomplishment that Mariners brass took note of, as they have now signed him to a minor league contract for the 2015 season. The Mariners are expecting huge things in 2015 after falling one game short of the Wildcard in ’14, and their starting rotation for Opening Day is set, so Saunders will go in to camp with a chance to compete for the second lefty spot in the bullpen.