An impressive six Long Beach State baseball players were selected on Day Three of the 2017 MLD Draft, bringing the total number of Dirtbags picked in this year’s draft up to eight. After David Banuelos (5th Round to Seattle) and Brock Lundquist (6th Round to Toronto) were drafted on Tuesday, six of their teammates got their name called Wednesday to give LBSU its largest draft class since 2010, when eight Dirtbags were selected that year.
Junior RHP Darren McCaughan was the first to go on Wednesday, getting picked up in the 12th Round by the Seattle Mariners. That will keep the battery of McCaughan and Banuelos together in the Mariners organization after they spent the last three seasons together as teammates in Long Beach. McCaughan is a two-time Big West Pitcher of the Year, a two-time All-American and was a member of Team USA’s 2016 Collegiate National Team. He had a 23-5 career record at Long Beach State, tying him for fifth in program history with his 23 career wins.
Another righthanded pitcher from Long Beach State was selected in Round 20 as senior reliever Josh Advocate went to the Texas Rangers. Advocate was a First Team All-Big West selection in 2017, going 3-1 with a 1.86 ERA in 27 relief appearances, picking up five saves along the way. He struck out 38 batters in 38.2 innings and issued just seven walks. The Rangers have now selected a Dirtbags reliever in two straight drafts after using a 27th Round pick on Lucas Jacobsen in 2016.
Things picked up in Round 25 as a quick run of three Dirtbags spanned into the 26th Round. Over the course of 21 picks, junior SS Laine Huffman, senior RHP Dave Smith and redshirt junior OF Lucas Tancas were all picked by different clubs.
First off the board was Huffman, who was selected in Round 25 by the New York Mets. It’s the second straight season the Mets have drafted a Dirtbag after they spent a 7th Round pick on Austin McGeorge a year ago. Huffman took over the starting shortstop gig at Shortstop U this past season and hit .294 with 26 RBIs and 22 runs scored, hitting primarily in the No. 9 spot in the lineup.
Smith was the Big West’s ERA leader this past season, posting a 2.07 ERA in 14 starts with a 9-2 record. The righthander from Elk Grove, Calif. walked just 11 batters in his 91.1 innings pitched, and on Wednesday earned Honorable Mention All-American recognition from Perfect Game. He went to the Washington Nationals in Round 25, where he will continue his playing career.
Ending the spurt of Dirtbags was Tancas, who was selected in the 26th Round by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Tancas was LBSU’s primary left fielder this past season, leading the team in home runs (9) and slugging (.491) while finishing second on the squad with 37 RBIs.
The final Dirtbags player off the board was junior 3B Ramsey Romano, who was drafted in the 31st Round by the Chicago Cubs. It’s not the first time Romano has been drafted; he was a 35th Round pick in the 2013 draft out of high school, also by the Cubs. Romano was LBSU’s leading batter with a .313 average in his first season at the Beach. He also led the team with 78 hits and 39 RBIs.
Since the draft was reduced from 50 rounds to 40 back in 2012, this is Long Beach State’s largest draft class. It’s the first time the Dirtbags have had more than four players drafted since the class of eight players in 2010.
2017 ABCA/Rawlings West All-Region Team
The American Baseball Writers Association (ABCA) released its All-Region Teams on Wednesday, with three Long Beach State players earning recognition on the 2017 ABCA/Rawlings West All-Region Team. Junior David Banuelos was the First Team catcher, while junior 3B Ramsey Romano and junior SP Darren McCaughan were Second Team selections.
This is the second career All-Region selection for McCaughan, who was named First Team All-Region in 2016 along with teammate Garrett Hampson. Going back to 2013, this is the first time Long Beach State has had three players earn All-Region status.
The West Region is comprised of 39 teams from the Big West, Mountain West, Pac-12, WAC and West Coast Conferences. Banuelos is one of three First Team selections from the Big West, joining Cal State Fullerton’s Scott Hurst and UC Irvine’s Keston Hiura. UC Santa Barbara’s Austin Bush and Fullerton’s Connor Seabold join Romano and McCaughan as Second Team selections.
All three Dirtbags were First Team All-Big West selections in 2017, with Banuelos winning the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year award and McCaughan earning his second straight Big West Pitcher of the Year honor.
Perfect Game All-Americans
A trio of Dirtbags were included on Perfect Game’s list of All-Americans on Wednesday, as David Banuelos, Darren McCaughan and Dave Smith were all Honorable Mention selections by the publication.
Banuelos was previously named a First Team All-American by Baseball America, and McCaughan was a Second Team All-American according to Collegiate Baseball after the 2017 season. For the senior Smith, this is the first All-American nod of his career.
All three players were recently selected in the MLB Draft, with Banuelos going in the 5th Round to the Seattle Mariners, McCaughan also went to Seattle in Round 12, and Smith was a 25th Round selection by the Washington Nationals.
Banuelos was the Big West Defensive Player of the Year, McCaughan was the Big West Pitcher of the Year for the second consecutive season, and Smith was the Big West’s ERA leader while having a terrific showing in the Long Beach Regional to help lead Long Beach State to the Super Regional round.
Last season, McCaughan was a Third Team selection as a Perfect Game All-American. This gives Long Beach State three different All-Americans for the first time since 2005, when RP Neil Jamison, SP Cesar Ramos and SS Troy Tulowitzki each earned an All-American nod.