On the third day of the 2018 MLB First-Year Player Draft, the Santa Clarita Valley shined as four local products, all were selected by an MLB franchise.
Bryce Collins of Hart, Jacob Lopez of Saugus and College of the Canyons, Preston White of The Master’s University and Dylan Thomas of Hawaii University each got calls.
“I can’t really describe it,” Collins said. “It was probably six hours ago, but I still just feel that weird energy here. I’m on top of the world right now. It’s the greatest feeling ever.”
Unsure of whether or not he would get drafted, Collins waited for the phone to ring while home alone.
“My dad was at work and my mom was with my brother,” Collins said. “Both my parents called me at the same time, but my dad was the only one to hear it at work … Right after my agent called my dad heard it at work and just exploded on the inside.”
Collins was selected with the 1,174th pick by the Minnesota Twins in the 39th Round.
Collins joins his teammate Cole Roederer and former Hart player Paul Rachin as the third Hart player to be selected in this year’s draft. The pitcher was with Roederer when he was selected in the second round on Monday.
“We had a few minutes to talk by ourselves (on Monday),” Collins said. “But today he texted me… It’s an incredible experience to share with the two of us the past few years. Along with Paul it’s incredible. All three of us have worked together and just to see it all pay off, it’s a cool thing.”
Collins, who will take the next step of his baseball career at the University of Arizona, has spent plenty of time with Rachin as well. The summer of his freshman year, Collins threw with Rachin and learned some valuable lessons.
“One of the key things was be a man, this is your career,” Collins said. “Do you, go achieve it. that’s something he told me when I was 14 and ti still stuck with me today. Just chasing my dream with 100 percent effort.”
Also getting selected by the Twins with the 1,144th pick in the 38th Round was Valencia grad and University of Hawaii pitcher, Dylan Thomas.
The National Collegiate Baseball Writer’s Association’s Stopper of the Year semi-finalist was the Big West’s top closer, ending the season with a single-season record of 14 saves in 18 appearances.
The redshirt sophomore finished the season tied for 11th in the nation in saves with a team-leading 1.85 ERA.
With the 766th pick, the Giants selected Saugus grad and COC product Jacob Lopez in the 26th round of this year’s draft.
“It’s been a really nice day,” Lopez said. “I can’t believe I was drafted, I’m just really excited.”
Getting ready for summer classes, Lopez said he was on his way to school when he heard the news.
“I was actually heading to class when I found out. I was kind of expecting it, but it was still kind of a shock and joy to find out.”
Growing up in Southern California as a Dodger fan, Lopez was still happy when he found out that he was selected by LA’s rival team.
“They are a really classy organization and they take care of their guys and plus they have been winning lately, so I’m more than happy to see what I can do for their franchise.”
The Texas Tech commit is unsure if he will make the jump to the big leagues or go to school.
“I would love to start pro ball this summer, but if not I’m glad to go back to school for the next couple years. Get stronger, develop and then try my luck again,” Lopez said.
After transferring to Saugus from Canyon after his sophomore year of high school, then enrolling at COC, Lopez has his coaching staff attributes his growth as a player and person to his coaches.
“Coming into Saugus, I was nervous because it was a new school and a new baseball team,” Lopez said. “But thanks to coach Maggiora and the guys on the team I was welcomed with open arms and it helped me transition into the player I am today.
“Plus those two years at COC with coach Cota, I’m blessed.”
Joining Lopez and being selected by the Giants in the 24th Round with the 706 selection was Preston White of The Master’s University.
White is the fourth Mustang to be selected by the Giants organization in the past three years and will look to continue his success in the Major League after a stellar junior year posting a 3.43 ERA his junior year on the mound.