MLB Draft Picks From the WCBL
The dreams of a number of Western Canadian Baseball League players came true this week when they heard their names called during the 2021 Major League Baseball Draft.
Outfielder Tristan Peters – a superstar with the Okotoks Dawgs in 2019 – was selected 207th overall, in the seventh round, by the Milwaukee Brewers.
The 21-year-old was fantastic in helping the Dawgs win their fifth WCBL title a couple years ago, winning the regular season batting crown with a .396 batting average before being named the Canadian Rookie of the Year and the Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the playoffs.
“It was unreal – and so much fun,” Peters said of his time with the Dawgs in a recent interview.
“The guys on that team were incredible. They were great ball players but even better people and they were just so much fun to be around.”
Peters, originally from Winkler, Manitoba, also trained at Dawgs Academy in Okotoks.
“The Dawgs program means a tonne to me … they know how to develop character there. I just learned how to be a good ball player and a good man,” Peters told Alberta Dugout Stories.
“I really want to play pro baseball – that’s my goal and I just have to take it a day at a time.”
Congratulations to Dawgs Academy & Dawgs WCBL standout, Tristan Peters, on being selected in the 7th round, 207th overall pick, of the 2021 MLB Draft!
— Okotoks Dawgs Baseball (@Okotoks_Dawgs) July 12, 2021
HAWK TAKING FLIGHT
Righty pitcher Garrett Hawkins, who took the bump for the Swift Current 57’s in 2018 and 2019, was chosen by the San Diego Padres with the 280th overall pick in the ninth round.
Hawkins – or, as his teammates call him, “G-Hawk” – was stellar in his two WCBL seasons. He pitched 71.1 innings over both summers in Swift Current and posted a 7-2 record with a 2.40 ERA and 76 Ks.
“I began my career in Swift as a young high schooler wanting to push myself against the next level of competition,” said Hawkins.
“It was an excellent opportunity for me to see what I needed to improve on to get outs at the next level.”
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) July 12, 2021
The 6-foot-5 moundsman, who hails from Biggar, Saskatchewan, looks back fondly at his time with the 57’s.
“My favourite memory from the WCBL would be pitching Canada Day in front of thousands of fans in Medicine Hat,” said Hawkins, who trained at Alberta’s Vauxhall Academy before signing on with the University of British Columbia (UBC).
“I can’t thank (former Swift Current coach Joe) Carnahan enough for everything he has done.”
DAM GOOD BALL PLAYER
The Toronto Blue Jays selected slugger Damiano Palmegiani for a second time. The Jays took the Vauxhall Academy grad in the 35th round of the 2018 MLB Draft, but he opted to continue on the college path at that time.
This time around, the former Lethbridge Bull went 422nd overall in the 14th round.
In 63 games at the College of Southern Nevada (CSN) this year, Palmegiani punished baseballs to the tune of a .389 batting average and 26 home runs. He was also named the Male Athlete of the Year at CSN.
“I just wanted to show what I could do when everything is figured out,” Palmegiani told Alberta Dugout Stories.
“I want to show everyone, and myself mostly, that player is there. I’m really just getting started now.”
CONGRATULATIONS to former Lethbridge Bulls player Damiano Palmegiani on being the 422nd pick in the 14th round of the 2021 MLB Draft. We are so very proud!!! #onceabullalwaysabull pic.twitter.com/zUyjHyCpg5
— Lethbridge Bulls (@lethbridgebulls) July 13, 2021
After he was drafted, the Venezuelan-born Canadian posted the following message on Twitter: “Incredibly blessed, thank you to everyone that made my dream a reality.”
Palmegiani played 13 games for Lethbridge in the summer of 2018. He batted just .125 through 32 at bats but he scored seven runs and picked up three RBI, as well as a pair of doubles for the Bulls.
REGINA DRAFT PICK
Thomas Ireland, who signed on to play for his hometown Regina Red Sox before the team opted out of the 2021 WCBL season, was taken by the Texas Rangers in the 13th round with the 374th overall pick.
Congratulations to Thomas on getting drafted by the Rangers. Thomas was slated to suit up for us this summer! https://t.co/aRReSIXnq1
— Regina Red Sox (@ReginaRedSox) July 13, 2021
The Baseball Saskatchewan product was most recently with Polk State College, where he posted a 6-4 record with a 5.37 ERA. The 6-foot-1 southpaw also registered 85 strikeouts in 16 starts.