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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Former Bobcats excelling in pro ball and minors

Members+of+the+Texas+State+baseball+team++cheer+on+teammates+from+the+dugout+during+the+last+pitch+of+the+game+against+No.+15+Texas%2C+Saturday%2C+March+2%2C+2024%2C+at+Minute+Maid+Park+in+Houston.
Star file photo
Members of the Texas State baseball team cheer on teammates from the dugout during the last pitch of the game against No. 15 Texas, Saturday, March 2, 2024, at Minute Maid Park in Houston.

Seventy-one former Bobcats have the honor of being Major League Baseball (MLB) draft picks, with 13 making it to the Major Leagues. With the 2024 MLB season almost a quarter of the way done, here are the Texas State alumni currently playing professional baseball:

 

St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt

Goldschmidt is arguably the best athlete out of Texas State and is currently competing in his 14th season in the MLB. Although he is struggling in 2024 with a .205/.287/.282 (batting average, on-base/slugging percentage) slash line, his career statistics are on par with various Hall of Famers.

In three seasons with Texas State, Goldschmidt posted a .352 batting average with a 1.073 OPS and 36 home runs. The Arizona Diamondbacks selected Goldschmidt in the eighth round of the 2009 MLB draft. The 36-year-old first baseman earned the call to the majors in 2011 before being traded to the Cardinals in 2018, who subsequently signed him to a five-year, $130 million contract extension.

Goldschmidt has a career .291/.386/.514 slash line, the fourth most home runs among active players with 344, and a 55.2 fWar (Fangraphs Wins Above Replacement). The Cardinals first baseman’s case for the Hall of Fame is strong, as recent inductees catcher Joe Mauer and first baseman Todd Helton both have lower career fWar. Goldschmidt has seven all-star game appearances, five Silver Slugger awards and won the 2022 National League Most Valuable Player award.

 

Washington Nationals closing pitcher Kyle Finnegan

The Oakland Athletics selected Finnegan in the sixth round of the 2013 MLB draft. In three seasons with Texas State, Finnegan posted a 4.02 ERA with 143 strikeouts in 170 innings.

Finnegan didn’t make it past Triple-A in the Athletics organization and was granted free agency in 2019. The hard-throwing relief pitcher signed with the Nationals in December 2019 and made his major league debut in 2020.

Finnegan has been reliable for the Nationals, posing a sub-four ERA every season since being called up. He has a career 3.39 ERA with 245 strikeouts and 63 saves in 244 innings. He’s taking it to the next level in 2024, posting a dominant 1.56 ERA with a league-leading 13 saves.

 

New Hampshire pitcher Nick Fraze

In three seasons as a Bobcat, Fraze earned a 17-10 record with a 4.17 ERA in 252 ⅓ innings. The Toronto Blue Jays selected him in the 22nd round of the 2019 MLB draft. He is still with the Blue Jays organization and has a solid career 3.87 ERA with 185 strikeouts in 200 innings across four minor levels.

Fraze was drafted as a starting pitcher but has mostly pitched out of the bullpen since the start of 2023. He reached the highest level of the minor leagues, Triple-A, twice but is currently in Double-A.

 

Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos relief pitcher Donnie Hart

The Baltimore Orioles selected Hart in the 27th round of the 2013 MLB draft. In his first two seasons for Texas State, Hart only threw 11.1 innings. In his third and final collegiate season, he pitched 42 ⅓ innings with a spectacular 2.13 ERA with 34 strikeouts.

Hart pitched in the MLB from 2016-19, accumulating a 3.43 ERA with 54 strikeouts in 81.1 innings for the Baltimore Orioles before hurling 6 ⅔ scoreless innings for the Milwaukee Brewers and one scoreless inning for the New York Mets. He pitched a season with the Gastonia Honey Hunters of the Atlantic League in 2021 and has played in the Mexican League ever since.

 

Windy City ThunderBolts third baseman/outfielder Jaylen Hubbard

The Washington Nationals selected Hubbard in the 27th round of the 2019 MLB draft. With Texas State, Hubbard hit .311/.438/.548 in 803 at-bats.

Hubbard never played above the rookie league, hitting just .179 with a .606 OPS in 83 plate appearances. The former Bobcat is still playing professional baseball, posting a .317 batting average with 31 home runs in 747 plate appearances in independent ball dating back to 2021.

 

Tennessee Smokies relief pitcher Zac Leigh

The Chicago Cubs selected Leigh in the 16th round of the 2021 MLB draft. As a Bobcat, he posted a 4.59 ERA with 204 strikeouts across 221 ⅓ innings.

Leigh is currently with the Cubs’ Double-A team and has a career 2.80 ERA across four minor league seasons. The Cubs 2024 Spring Breakout team included the 26-year-old.

 

Wichita Wind Surge relief pitcher Hunter McMahon

The Washington Nationals picked McMahon in the ninth round of the 2019 MLB draft. In his lone season with Texas State, McMahon pitched to a 4.72 ERA with 71 strikeouts in 87 ⅔ innings.

McMahon’s time in the Nationals organization was brief as the organization traded him to the Minnesota Twins for pitcher Ryne Harper in January 2020. Across five minor league seasons, McMahon has a 4.02 career ERA with 186 strikeouts in 192 ⅓ innings. He reached Triple-A briefly in 2023 and is currently playing in Double-A.

 

St. Paul Saints outfielder Dalton Shuffield

Shuffield hit .327/.395/.501 across five seasons with Texas State. The Minnesota Twins selected him in the tenth round of the 2022 MLB draft after his best and final collegiate season, in which he hit a jaw-dropping .378/.444/.668 with 13 home runs en route to earning the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year award.

Shuffield is currently playing in Triple-A. In 377 minor league plate appearances, Shuffield has a respectable .265/.361/.422 slash line with ten home runs.

 

Birmingham Barons relief pitcher Tristan Stivors

Stivors caught attention after earning the 2021-22 Sun Belt Male Athlete of the Year award. The Chicago White Sox selected him in the 16th round of the 2022 MLB Draft.

Stivors dealt with injuries after being drafted which hindered his chance to move up in the White Sox organization. The highest level he reached is Double-A, and he is currently rehabbing in the rookie league. He has a career 3.43 ERA with 68 strikeouts in 44 ⅔ innings.

 

Aberdeen IronBirds starting pitcher Levi Wells

Wells, the most recent Bobcat selected in the MLB draft, posted a 3.98 ERA in two seasons with Texas State after transferring from Texas Tech University. The Baltimore Orioles selected him in the fourth round of the 2023 MLB draft.

Wells is currently pitching in high-A and has had a rough start to his professional career. In 18 innings, he has a 9.00 ERA. However, he allowed just one run in seven innings with 13 strikeouts in his last two starts combined.

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