Gators Baseball Sends Six to Major Leagues


Courtesy of The Daily Sentinel

The San Francisco Giants selected San Jac alumnus Aaron Bond in the twelfth round of the 2017 MLB First-Year Player Draft.

On many fronts, 2017 was a major league success for San Jacinto College baseball. In addition to coming in as runner-up in the National Junior College Athletics Association (NJCAA) World Series, the Gators saw six of their top current and former players chosen during the Major League Baseball (MLB) First-Year Player Draft.

The six new draftees include Aaron Bond (San Francisco Giants), Michael Smith (Milwaukee Brewers), Donny Diaz (Boston Red Sox), and Bailey Cummings (Philadelphia Phillies). Also, former Gators Aaron Ford (New York Mets) and Montana Parsons (Miami Marlins) were selected by MLB teams.

“It’s definitely not the coaching,” Assistant Coach Eric Weaver said trying to explain the high number of recent MLB picks. “We don’t just throw a ball or hit a ball. We just try to give them the tools they need to get them to what their future holds.

Weaver partially credits this summer’s success to the College’s recruiting efforts, but mostly attributes it to the players and their work ethic.

“They are the ones that put in the blood, sweat, and tears,” he said, “grinding every morning and every afternoon, grinding on the weekends while the other guys are at home.”

However, Weaver pointed out that community college baseball programs attract top talent because they offer players an opportunity not available at four-year schools.

“If guys go to a junior college, they are eligible for the draft right away,” he said. “To where if they go to a Division I school or any university, they are not eligible for the draft until three years. I think that’s how we get a lot of high profile guys.”

Gators Sophomore Blake Owens said watching his former teammates move to the major leagues is an important source of inspiration for himself and the rest of the team, but points to the College’s storied program as the stepping stone to moving forward.

“It’s definitely a motivation that’s fun to see because I know that San Jac gives you an opportunity to come out here,” Owens said. “And if you work hard and you produce, you will have a good shot of getting looked at and drafted.”

Although Weaver pays tribute to the team’s history emphasizing the Gators “wouldn’t be where we are today” if not for legendary alumni like Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens, he attributes recent triumphs, not to the past, but to the team’s laser-sharp focus on the present.

“The thing we say all the time is, ‘we wanna win our last game,’” he said. “And if we win that last game, that means we’ve won a national title. And if we’ve won a national title, that means we’ll be exactly where we wanted to be.”