In the 12th round of the 2009 draft, the Seattle Mariners selected Andrew Carraway, a senior pitcher out of the University of Virginia.
Little did they know at the time that in future drafts they would go back to the Virginia baseball program – in a big way.
Two years later, the Mariners used three of their first eight draft picks on Virginia baseball players – each of whom had Carraway as a teammate when he was a senior.
In 2011 the Mariners drafted pitcher Danny Hultzen, catcher John Hicks, and first baseman Stephen Proscia in the first, fourth, and seventh rounds, respectively.
All three were drafted after their junior season – so they were freshmen during Carraway’s senior year.
“We all played together for a year,” said Carraway, who was promoted to Tacoma two weeks ago. “We had a lot of fun in 2009 playing together.”
Don’t blame Carraway if he thinks that Hultzen is following him around. They were teammates at Double-A Jackson until Carraway’s promotion to Tacoma on May 10.
“I actually hosted Danny Hultzen on his recruiting trip, so I met him as a high school player,” said Carraway. “I knew he was a high prospect coming into college, and fortunately he signed with us and played.”
Hultzen is pitching like he wants to join Carraway in Triple-A. With a 12-strikeout performance Wednesday, Hultzen has 56 strikeouts in 502/3 innings. He has allowed just 25 hits – opponents are batting .146 against him – and has a 1.78 ERA.
“I know Danny’s gotten a lot of press being No. 2 overall, but I can’t say enough good things about him,” Carraway says. “He’s a real modest guy, and you’d never know that he’s as high of a prospect as he is. He goes about his business the right way, works really hard, and stays humble and quiet all the way through it.”
Proscia joined Hultzen at Jackson on May 10, and he’s hitting .275 with four home runs and eight RBI after 14 games.
Hicks is tearing up the California League, where he is playing for the Mariners’ advanced Class-A High Desert affiliate. Hicks is batting .302 with seven homers and 38 RBI in 43 games. From behind the plate, he has thrown out 45 percent of attempted base stealers.
GHOST FROM PAST
Former Mariners and Rainiers left-hander Ryan Rowland-Smith pitched against Tacoma twice this past week while toiling for his new team, the Iowa Cubs.
Rowland-Smith signed a minor league contract with the Cubs in the offseason, after struggling through a rough 2010 season with Oklahoma City.
The Australian recently spent six weeks on the disabled list with a sore back, perhaps costing him an opportunity for a major league call-up: The beleaguered Cubs called six different pitchers to Chicago while Rowland-Smith was on the disabled list.
Rowland-Smith has appeared in six games this year, going 0-0 with a 4.91 ERA in 11 innings.Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Tacoma Rainiers.