Sports

If Sacramento is a baseball town, why the sudden MLB Draft drought?

It’s been a busy spring for Sacramento-area sports. Bouncing around the region in a forward lean, from the MLB Draft to Sac State’s new receiver to Jonah Williams to locals in Raiders camp:

MLB Draft

The Major League Draft started Monday and ends Wednesday. There are 40 rounds and some 1,214 players will be taken.

Since 2016, the Sacramento region has produced three first-round picks. Pitcher Matt Manning of Sheldon High School and slugging outfielder Dylan Carlson of Elk Grove went to Detroit and St. Louis, respectively.

In 2018, infielder Nick Madrigal of Elk Grove was the highest local baseball product ever selected, going fourth to the Chicago White Sox.

There were no first-rounders with regional roots in this year’s draft, and just one in the top two rounds before what could be a drought of sorts in subsequent rounds. This isn’t to suggest that the baseball talent has dried up. It’s a cyclical thing. Some of the best area players are not yet seniors in high school, or are not yet draft eligible in college.

Beau time

Oregon State junior shortstop Beau Philip of Oak Ridge and Delta College was taken in the second round, 60th overall, by Oregon State. He has dazzled on defense since high school.

He batted .311 with five home runs, 14 doibles, 31 RBI and 32 runs scored. The bonus slot money for the 60th pick is $1,157,400.

Kreidler time

UCLA shortstop Ryan Kreidler was the area’s second highest-drafted player this week, going in the fourth round to Detroit.

The junior from Davis has looked the part since his arrival in Los Angeles, where he helped steer the nation’s top-ranked team into the NCAA regional rounds. His coach, John Savage, told the Orange County Register that Kreidler has “been a major league shortstop for awhile, in my opinion.”

Others of note: Among the area players expecting to get drafted include Davis High outfielder Nick Vogt, Woodland slugger/pitcher Cooper Hjerpe, Del Campo outfielder Mason Poisson and Cosumnes River College outfielder Burle Dixon of Sheldon.

The Will of Lotter

Will Lotter, who coached five different teams during his decorated UC Davis tenure, died May 23 at 95.

He was known for his coaching versatility – we’ll never see anyone at any level coach so many different sports now – and for being a “well-known humanitarian in our region,” according to his son, Rick Lotter.

Lotter, from the 1950s through early 1990s, coached at one time or another football, baseball, track and field and soccer. He served in the Navy as a fighter pilot in World War II before playing baseball and football at Cal and joining the UCD physical education department in 1952.

Bailey on board

Isaiah Bailey of Jesuit and Sierra College receiving and special teams fame will play his final season of college football at Sacramento State.

Bailey made ESPN highlights for some of his catches at Alabama A&M and decided to finish his career with new Hornets coach Troy Taylor, who lives to throw the ball.

Doss is boss

UCD record-breaking receiver Keelan Doss was not drafted but has turned heads as a rookie free agent for his hometown favorite Raiders. He has long checked off on all the right boxes of character and effort.

Said Raiders coach Jon Gruden to a media pack recently, “We coached Doss in the Senior Bowl and really liked him. I think he’s smart, he’s athletic and he’s got size, and I think he’s going to be able to compete on special teams as well.”

Jonah impact

Jonah Williams has signed his rookie contract with the Cincinnati Bengals, and the 11th overall pick out of Alabama and Folsom High has made an immediate impression.

In the team’s first organized team activity (OTA), Williams lined up at left tackle next to Cordy Glenn, the team’s starting last tackle last season now at left guard. Williams could become the first rookie starting left tackle since 1980, the start of Anthony Munoz’s Hall of Fame career.

Miller time

Kolton Miller, the Raiders’ first round pick in 2018 out of UCLA and Roseville, showed glimpses of promise last fall.

He’s turning heads again. The 6-8 tackle has added weight, up to 328 pounds, without losing quickness.

Said Raiders quarterback Derek Carr to a media scrum, “He’s huge. He looks great. Not being weird, but the man looks like he’s ready.”

And Gruden, “We think Kolton Miller is going to be one of the best at left tackles in football. He’s not only healthy, he’s in great shape. He’s gotten a lot stronger. He’s added some weight and some muscle.”

  Comments