Three more Roadrunners to play professionally

Nate Sanchez

Senior Staff Writer

Welcome back!

The Roadrunners’ athletic office has been making headlines all summer long, the first of which was two baseball players being taken in the Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft, with another signing a free-agent contract. Let’s take a closer look at Taylor Aikenhead, Austin Davis and Oscar Sanay.

Pitcher Taylor Aikenhead (Image from gorunners.com)
Pitcher Taylor Aikenhead
(Image from gorunners.com)

Taylor Aikenhead:

Drafted in the 32nd round by the San Diego Padres, Aikenhead (8-7, 3.05 ERA) came out of CSUB leading in most pitching categories among the regular three starters including innings pitched and strikeouts. He also allowed the fewest earned runs and walks.

The most popular word that came up in my research about not only Aikenhead, but Davis as well was “workhorse.” Aikenhead pitched 106.1 innings over the course of the 2014 season, more than any other Roadrunner pitcher. You’ll find that over his 15 starts, that’s an average of seven innings per start. Whichever team he ends up with, he’ll be a “long-innings guy,” giving relievers in the bullpen some relief of their own.

Even if he doesn’t get put into the starting rotation, Aikenhead proved himself in the bullpen before the 2014 season. He was the closer for the Roadrunners in 2013 when they won the Western Athletic Conference Regular Season Championship. He recorded five saves and 36 strikeouts in 66.2 innings.

One weird aspect of Aikenhead’s draft status was the fact that the Padres chose Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel five rounds ahead of him. The Padres general manager Josh Byrnes has since been fired. As of Monday, July 14, Manziel remains one of 13 unsigned Padres draftees.

 

Pitcher Austin Davis (Image from gorunners.com)
Pitcher Austin Davis
(Image from gorunners.com)

Austin Davis:

Davis (4-9, 4.03 ERA) was the Roadrunners’ media darling during the 2014 season. Don’t let his win-loss record fool you; Davis is the real deal and wins are an archaic and irrelevant means of establishing a pitcher’s worth. But that’s a column in the making; stay tuned.

The Philadelphia Phillies took the lefthander in the 12th round, which is the second-highest any Roadrunner has been drafted. The Atlanta Braves took right-hander Scott Brattvet in the eighth round in 2013.

I counted as many as 18 scouts at one of his starts. Why? Because he’s 6’4” and 235 pounds, that’s why. Todd Gold of perfectgame.org said:

“He owns a very mature build… with thick muscular legs, a strong core and well defined muscle structure. His physical build and sturdy frame would suggest he’s prepared to become a workhorse type, capable of handling gradually increasing innings as he climbs the professional ladder.”

He’s also got velocity. Davis relied on his fastball mostly, touching 95 miles per hour at its fastest. He’s also got a changeup that lives in the 80-82 mph range and a slider with diagonal movement that tops at 81 mph.

What good is velocity if you can’t maintain it through five or more innings? Davis can and does. He hits the low-to-mid-90s into the sixth inning regularly. With 96 innings in the books for the 2014 season, featuring two complete games, Davis shows the potential to go the distance.

 

Second baseman Oscar Sanay (Image from gorunners.com)
Second baseman Oscar Sanay
(Image from gorunners.com)

Oscar Sanay

For four years, Sanay has been a steady presence of leadership in the Roadrunner infield. He went undrafted, but signed a free-agent contract with the Tampa Bay Rays.

The shortstop leaves Bakersfield as the all-time leader in hits (263), games played (227) and games started (218). A testament to his durability and apparent immunity to injury, Sanay was a great everyday option as an infielder.

Sanay was always handy at the plate; he never finished a season with a batting average under .290 and led the team three of his four playing years. His overall average as a Roadrunner sat comfortably at .309, above average for most players.

More important than batting average, Sanay was able to get on base consistently. He kept a steady on-base percentage (OBP) over his four seasons. As a matter of fact, his four season’s OBP values are at least in the mid-to-high .300s.

Once he got on base, Sanay showed another aspect of his game: speed. While he only recorded 26 total stolen bases (13 of which he took in 2014), he’s anything but a liability on the basepaths. He collected 341 total bases in his career as a Roadrunner and holds CSUB’s record for runs scored with 155.