Four Sonoma State University baseball players were fortunate to do something less than six percent of all college baseball players get to do: sign a contract in professional baseball.
Every year in early June, thousands of baseball players anxiously anticipate hearing their names called in the Major League Baseball amateur draft; that prospect proved true for two Seawolves this year. In the 25th round of the draft, Ryan O’Malley was the first of the two to hear his name by way of the Atlanta Braves.
O’Malley was a key part in the Sonoma State lineup in 2016 as third baseman. He hit an impressive .335 with seven home runs to ensure himself a call in the draft. Currently, Ryan is leading the Danville Braves (minor league affiliate of the Atlanta Braves) in home runs with five.
Second, came pitcher Ryan Luna, who heard his name called in the 28th round by the Colorado Rockies. Luna was a transfer from Fresno City College who spent his final two seasons of college ball at Sonoma. He posted a dominant 3.05 ERA last season and has thrown 24.2 innings for the Grand Junction Rockies (minor League Affiliate of the Colorado Rockies).
During the few weeks following the draft, players who went undrafted are eligible to sign a free agent contract with any team. This was the path for Jackson Zarubin and Cal Becker.
After only one season as Seawolves, both Zarubin and Becker found themselves in professional baseball.
Zarubin signed a free agent contract with the Angels and Becker with the Diamondbacks. Zarubin has 28 strikeouts in only 20.1 innings pitched in the Arizona League.
“It’s definitely an adjustment,” said Zarubin, when asked about the transition from college ball to pro ball. “The workload is a lot more demanding. You get about one off day a week from playing games and your daily routine is crazy. It can get tiring, so you have to learn to manage the workload and still be able to pitch that night.”
Beyond the opportunity to chase their dreams, the four Seawolves who recently signed a professional contract leave a meaningful impact on the Sonoma State baseball program.
“It’s really inspirational to see my teammates continue their baseball career at the professional level, it gives us other guys hope to one day do the same,” said Grant St. Martin, who was a redshirt freshman on the 2016 team. “Playing in the big leagues is virtually every baseball player’s dream.”
Signing the contract is just the start for these four, as they continue to strive to chase their dreams into the big leagues.