Conor Jackon retired recently but Jeff Kobernus just made his MLB debut (on May 25, 2013)? There are plenty of Bears in the Big League if no superstars (Allen Craig is the best candidate to take that leap). Is this a testament of CalBaseball's ability to recruit or develop players?
This is what made the decision by John Riley to sign with the Giants such a baffling one. San Francisco took three catchers ahead of Riley and didn't take him in the second or third round because they didn't want to paint themselves into a corner, financially. Riley wanted $500,000, and, even in the 31st round, got $400,000 because the Giants circled back around once they knew how much they had left after signing most of their other picks. Riley could have gone in the first or second round after two years (he'd be a 19-year old freshman) at Cal, after being a starting catcher at a Pac-12 program which has seen its last five starting catchers drafted (Garrett Bussierre, Charlie Cutler, Dylan Tonneson, Chadd Krist and Andrew Knapp) and made millions as some team's first-priority catcher draftee. Even those close to him were dumbfounded.
As Esquer has said, if you want to get to the majors, you go to Cal, and if you look at the number of guys who he's recruited who made it into the bigs, it's hard to argue. Starting with John Baker, you have Conor Jackson, Brian Horwitz, Tyson Ross, Josh Satin, Brennan Boesch, Allen Craig, David Cooper, Brett Jackson, Kobernus and Brandon Morrow. Not a bad track record as far as development goes, and when you realize that, over Esquer's tenure, only two players signed by Cal who also went in the major league draft out of high school took the pro route instead of college, that's a huge testament to what the perception is of the program.
I actually just went and saw Tony Renda play the other day in low A, where he has been selected to be in the South Atlantic League all-star game. Marcus Semien is also a prospect in AA for the White Sox. Who will be the next former Cal Bears to make the Big League?
Erik Johnson. After being drafted in 2011, he's already at Triple-A, and he's absolutely rolling. Puma tossed four stellar innings in his first big league spring training start down in Arizona this past February, and he's only gotten better. He's 1-0 in his first three Triple-A starts with a 2.25 ERA and 18 strikeouts in just 16 innings of work. Overall on the year (including Double-A), he's 9-2 with a 2.24 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 100.2 innings, with opposing hitters batting just .193 against him. I'd be surprised if he's not a September call-up with the White Sox, and once he's there, don't count against him staying for good.
As we noted last week, both Erik Johnson and Marcus Semien made their Big League debut in the beginning of the September for the White Sox.
Current Cal Bears on MLB Roster
#26 / Left Field / Washington Nationals
Jun 30, 1988
|2013 - Jeff Kobernus||20||24||5||4||0||0||1||1||4||6||2||2||.167||.310||.292|
#5 / First Base / Chicago White Sox
Sep 17, 1990
|2013 - Marcus Semien||7||23||2||7||1||0||0||1||1||9||1||0||.304||.333||.348|
Ryan Gorcey's feature on Marcus Semien
#45 / Pitcher / Chicago White Sox
Dec 30, 1989
|2013 - Erik Johnson||0-2||2||2||0||0||0||0||9.2||14||11||5||2||6||5||4.66||2.07|
Ryan Gorcey's feature on Erik Johnson
#13 / First Base / New York Mets
Dec 23, 1984
|2013 - Josh Satin||64||169||21||46||14||0||2||12||28||51||1||1||.272||.376||.391|
Ryan Gorcey's feature on Josh Satin
#21 / First Base / St. Louis Cardinals
Jul 18, 1984
|2013 - Allen Craig||134||508||71||160||29||2||13||97||40||100||2||0||.315||.373||.457|
Ryan Gorcey's feature on Allen Craig
#38 / Pitcher / San Diego Padres
Apr 22, 1987
|2013 - Tyson Ross||3-8||33||13||0||0||0||0||104.0||87||45||38||6||40||99||3.29||1.22|
#23 / Toronto Blue Jays
Jul 26, 1984
|2013 - Brandon Morrow||2-3||10||10||0||0||0||0||54.1||63||39||34||12||18||42||5.63||1.49|
Not Currently on MLB Roster
#22 / New York Yankees
Apr 12, 1985
|2013 - Brennan Boesch||23||51||6||14||2||1||3||8||2||9||0||0||.275||.302||.529|
Boesch is currently a free agent after being released by the Yankees.
Former Big Leaguer currently in the Minors:
#0 / Catcher / Los Angeles Dodgers
Jan 20, 1981
Baker was claimed by the Dodgers when he was designated for assignment by the Padres earlier this year. He has since been sent to the AAA team of the Dodgers.
#7 / Chicago Cubs
Aug 02, 1988
Still a top prospect for the Cubs, the former first round pick made his MLB debut last year. His 2013 season has been cut short by injuries, unfortunately.
Feb 12, 1987
#36 / Baltimore Orioles
May 07, 1982
#93 / San Francisco Giants
Nov 07, 1982
You can find the rest of our Baseball Q&A with Ryan Gorcey through the link below