High School Sports

Gig Harbor’s Michael Toglia, Federal Way’s Mears go in first two rounds of 2019 MLB Draft

UCLA’s Michael Toglia during an NCAA college baseball game against Sacramento State, Sunday, March 3, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)
UCLA’s Michael Toglia during an NCAA college baseball game against Sacramento State, Sunday, March 3, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong) AP

It didn’t take long for Gig Harbor High School grad and current UCLA junior Michael Toglia to see his name called in the 2019 Major League Baseball Draft on Monday evening. Toglia was selected in the first round of the draft by the Colorado Rockies with the No. 23 pick.

Toglia is a career .306 hitter at UCLA with 33 homeruns and 51 doubles in three seasons for the Bruins. The 6-foot-5 first baseman and outfielder is hitting .311 this season with 14 homeruns, four triples and 16 doubles and has a .608 slugging percentage and 57 RBI.

Toglia was a 2018 All-Pac 12 selection, hitting .336 with 51 runs scored and a team-best 58 RBI as a sophomore.

The Rockies have had their eye on Toglia for a while now, as Colorado drafted him in the 35th round in 2016, before Toglia chose to head to UCLA to take his game to the next level and improve his draft stock.

“Toglia is a solid athlete, especially given his 6-foot-5 frame that he’s still growing into,” reads Toglia’s draft bio on mlb.com. “And as a kid from the Northwest, he’s still growing into the game. He’s shown huge raw power from both sides of the plate, with some scouts putting a 70 on his raw power, but there are some questions about his ability to make enough contact to tap into it consistently.”

Toglia is just 20 years old, making him one of the youngest college juniors in the country.

“He wasn’t comfortable in the box at the start of the season, but the streaky hitter was starting to put it together,” Toglia’s draft bio continues. “Athletic enough to handle an outfield corner, he’s a plus defender at first who can save runs at the infield corner … He’s a rare college bat with projection, one who could be a run producer in the future if he can refine his approach.”

FEDERAL WAY’S MEARS DRAFTED IN SECOND ROUND

Federal Way High School’s Joshua Mears was drafted in the second round, No. 48 by the San Diego Padres. Mears is a Purdue University signee and will have a decision to make now, after being drafted high.

The 6-foot-3, 230-pound power hitter drew a Nelson Cruz comparison from mlb.com.

“Mears is the kind of high school player scouts can dream on, with the potential to be a run-producing right fielder, in a Nelson Cruz kind of mold, when all is said and done,” reads Mears’ draft bio. “It might take some time to get there, so the team taking him early enough will have to be patient with his development.”

Mears has plenty of pop in his bat. For the Eagles this season, he hit .500 with 10 homeruns, six doubles and a team-leading 24 RBI.

“Mears is a bit of a high-risk, high-reward type of high school hitter,” his mlb.com draft bio reads. “Big, strong and physical, he has tremendous raw power that allows him to launch balls a long way. The rest of his game is a bit raw, though he does show some feel to hit and isn’t just a kid trying to pull everything out of the park. While he’s not a speedster, he runs pretty well for his size. He makes good and accurate throws from the outfield with his average arm, and he’s a capable defender, though he needs to polish his reads and routes. A calm, quiet kid, he gets high marks for his makeup.”

Lakeside (Seattle) High School outfielder Corbin Carroll was the first player selected from Washington, taken by the Arizona Diamondbacks with the 16th overall pick. Oregon State University catcher Adley Rutschman was the No. 1 overall pick, taken by the Baltimore Orioles.

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