Texas head coach Augie Garrido, the NCAA’s winningest baseball coach, saw five of his players go in the 2015 MLB draft this year.
In his 19-year run with Texas, Garrido has had more than 100 players go on to play professional baseball and even more players who have been drafted yet did not join the MLB. Garrido was unavailable for comment.
In the last five years, Garrido has had 36 of his players drafted. This year, five players were drafted, including seniors Parker French, Kirby Mellow and Brooks Marlow, who were drafted to the Colorado Rockies, Arizona Diamondbacks and the Houston Astros, respectively. Mellow and Marlow were unavailable for comment.
Deciding to forgo their senior seasons at Texas, juniors C.J Hinojosa and Ben Johnson were drafted in the 11th round — just three picks apart — to play for the San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals, respectively.
Although French, Hinojosa and Johnson said they are excited to start their professional careers, their times at Texas have proved invaluable in shaping their futures.
French, who was the 137th overall pick, was the first Longhorn to be drafted. While partaking in Texas barbecue with his family, French received a phone call that would indelibly advance his baseball career. The Rockies had their mind set on drafting him; all he had to do was agree.
“That’s where I wanted to go, I really felt like I fit in with the organization and gelled with them well,” French said. “They valued me as a player — not just a senior sign — and that they saw my leadership and my commitment to the team, which was important as well.”
Over the past four years, French has started 54 games — the fifth most in school history. Bill Schmidt, vice president of scouting for the Rockies, said he thinks Texas did a good job developing French and he liked French’s character what he saw on and off the field.
“For me, it was his body of work there at Texas and what he accomplished over the four years,” Schmidt said. “And he competed at different roles, I know at times he pitched out of a bullpen and then this year being the starter. Not only his ability but what he stood for as a person and a competitor, his presence was somebody that we wanted to add to our organization.”
Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff
Junior shortstop C.J Hinojosa, who was drafted in the 11th round as the 336th overall pick, was the second player to bid farewell to Texas as he now makes his way to the San Francisco Giants.
Hinojosa decided to forgo his senior year at Texas to pursue his professional baseball career. In his last season at Texas, Hinojosa recorded the second most home runs for the team with 7 and tied for third in doubles with 9.
In Arizona, Hinojosa, a 5foot9inch shortstop, said he accomplished one of his dreams June 16 when he signed his contract with the Giants.
Hinojosa said leaving Austin is bittersweet and the accomplishments he and his team made while playing together have everything to do with his success.
“Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am. The past three years playing there was an awesome experience,” Hinojosa said. “From being the worst team in the Big 12 to finishing third in the nation my second year, to my third year and winning the Big 12 tournament — it was a blast.”
Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff
Johnson was taken three picks after Hinojosa and will be joining the Kansas City Royals. He was the 339th overall pick, and, although he said he could have been drafted sooner, he said wanted to play for the Royals.
“In the end, I wanted to be a Kansas City Royal the entire time, and, however I could get there, I wanted to make that happen,” Johnson said. “I feel like my strengths and my game really fit their system well, and, in the end, that’s the team that I wanted to go to, and it worked out.”
Johnson started 56 games for Texas this past season. He led the team in stolen bases with 16 — a number that would rank him fifth in the Big 12.
Johnson said he thinks his transition from the Longhorns to the Royals will go smoothly because of the similarities in their playing style.
“They love to run and love to steal bases,” Johnson said. “In the outfield, they said they’re going to play me [at] centerfield, and they kind of like me as a lead-off two guy, and that’s what I hit here. My game here could translate nicely over to them.”
Aside from bettering his baseball skills, Johnson said being under the pressure of playing for Texas has helped prepare him to join the MLB.
“Every single game feels like Game 7 of the World Series playing here with Coach Garrido, and you just know that every game is a do-or-die situation, and I think that’ll help me going into my professional career,” Johnson said.
Lauren Ussery | Daily Texan Staff