Eight Former POWER Players Chosen In MLB Draft

June 9, 2010 – Tyler Saladino, Garrett Buechele, Trevor Johnson, Travis Blankenship, Mike O’Neill, Michael Weber, Keenyn Walker, and Brian Heere are all current or former POWER players, were chosen in this week’s Major League Baseball draft.

The Chicago White Sox chose Saladino, a shortstop from the 2009 POWER team, in the 7th round. After playing two seasons with Palomar College, Saladino attended Oral Roberts in 2010 and enjoyed a terrific season with the Golden Eagles, hitting .381 in 60 games with 17 homers, 73 RBI, and 16 stolen bases. While with the POWER, Saladino hit .328 with two homers, 23 RBI, and a team-leading 35 stolen bases.

The Texas Rangers chose Buechele, a third-baseman from Oklahoma, in the 18th round. As a Sooner this year, Buechele enjoyed a tremendous season. He hit .387 in 59 games, driving in 62 runs and pounding 16 homers. He led the Sooners in nearly every offensive category. From hits, runs, home runs, RBI, total bases, slugging, to on-base percentage, Buechele’s fine season at the plate earned him a 3rd-best finish in Big 12 Conference baseball’s final offensive categories. Buechele played for the POWER in 2008, and hit .270 while driving in 18 runs in 34 games.

In the 22nd round, the New York Yankees selected 2009 POWER alumnus Trevor Johnson. Johnson, a left-handed pitcher, threw for College of the Desert in 2010. With the Roadrunners this season, he posted a 2.69 ERA with five complete games in nine starts and a 4-2 record. While with the POWER, Johnson made three starts and gave up 5 earned runs in 6 2/3 innings.

The Houston Astros took Travis Blankenship in the 31st round with the 933rd overall pick.  He was the fifth Kansas player taken in the draft.  The left-handed pitcher led KU in appearances the last two seasons.  Blankenship tied for fifth-most in Jayhawk history while pitching in 73 games during his career.

Mike O’Neill was taken by the St. Louis Cardinals 949th overall.  O’Neill hails from USC and is an outfielder.  USC had O’Neill at the top of their batting order during his senior year there and left quite a mark on the Trojan Baseball program.  In his junior year, O’Neill started in 51 out of 52 games and batted .319.

In the 37th round, the Arizona Diamondbacks selected Michael Weber from Washington State University.  Weber, an infielder for WSU, made starts at first, second, and third base throughout his career.  The left-handed hitter capped off his senior year hitting .313, cranking out 8 home runs and added 44 RBIs.

Current Palm Springs POWER rightfielder Keenyn Walker was selected in the 38th round by the two-time defending National League champion Philadelphia Phillies.  Walker spent last season at Central Arizona State.  He is currently hitting .286 for the POWER with six RBI and seven runs scored and has shown that he has a cannon of an arm in right field.

Outfielder Brian Heere was selected in the 41st round by the Cleveland Indians and spent his college years playing ball for the Kansas Jayhawks as well.  Heere led the Jayhawks in batting average this season posting an impressive .393.  His offensive numbers also included six home runs and 52 RBIs.

After the 2010 draft, there are now over 40 former POWER players who have been drafted by Major League teams. The POWER organization sends its best wishes to all POWER alumni!

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