Cal Poly’s Mason Radeke has signed a minor-league contract within the Cleveland Indians organization, ending speculation that the junior star pitcher might come back to the Mustangs for another season.
Radeke’s possible return could’ve been a key asset to the Mustangs. This past year, the right-hander was a Friday night starter and led the Big West Conference in called strikeouts (41). He was second in total strikeouts (95) and finished with a 3.07 ERA in 99 2⁄3 innings.
Despite all that, though, Radeke, an all-conference first-team honoree, unexpectedly fell to the 35th round. Radeke, a Santa Barbara High product, told Presidio Sports in Santa Barbara that he indeed expected to be drafted higher and had some uncertainty about going pro after falling to the third day, but that he and the Indians were ultimately able to work out a deal with “more than a fair (signing) bonus.”
Cal Poly coach Larry Lee said his staff thought Radeke was as good as gone leading up to last week’s draft, before he surprisingly slipped.
“It’s a big loss for us,” Lee said. “(Radeke returning) would’ve really made us strong at the top of the pitching rotation. But we’re happy for him, and we wish him the best.”
Radeke, who told Presidio that Indians scout Vince Sagisi helped facilitate the signing process, is now expected to play for the short-season Mahoning Valley (Ohio) Scrappers. Sagisi also manages the California Wahoos offseason club in Santa Maria.
“I always had the confidence in myself that I could make it happen and I have the talent to go on, and it’s come true,” Radeke told Presidio.
His departure leaves Joey Wagman, Chase Johnson and Kyle Anderson as the Mustangs’ returning pitchers with the most experience, combining for 23 starts this past season.
Wagman, a junior-to-be right-hander, pitched 64 2⁄3 innings as a sophomore for a 3.62 ERA with 52 strikeouts and 17 walks. Johnson, a fellow right-hander who’s entering his sophomore year, compiled a 3.67 ERA with 34 strikeouts and 21 walks in 49 innings. Anderson, the lone southpaw of the trio, tossed 44 1⁄3 innings, accruing a 4.26 ERA with 29 strikeouts and 15 walks.
The Mustangs’ recruiting class from this past fall’s early signing period included four right-handers: Michael Dingilian (from Chaminade Prep in West Hills), Bryan Granger (San Benito High in Hollister), Nick Grim (Monterey Peninsula College) and Colton Haynes (Arroyo Grande High).
Cal Poly’s closer from this past season, junior Jeff Johnson, was also picked by the Indians, in the 10th round. He’s expected to turn pro, and has until Aug. 15 to sign.
“We have some big shoes to fill,” Lee said.
Grim was also taken, going in the 14th round to the Florida Marlins. The right-hander is playing this summer for the San Luis Obispo Blues.As expected, Cal Poly’s Bobby Crocker signed with the Oakland Athletics’ minor-league system.
The A’s drafted the junior outfielder in the fourth round.
Crocker will be assigned to the short-season Vermont Lake Monsters.
Crocker led Cal Poly in hitting for the second year in a row, batting .339 with 13 doubles and five home runs in his final collegiate campaign on the way to all-Big West first-team accolades.
Two additional Mustangs who were also drafted, infielder Matt Jensen and left-handed middle-reliever Frankie Reed, have also come to terms with their franchises.
Jensen, whose promising career at Cal Poly was riddled with injuries, opted to yield his final year of eligibility after being picked by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 31st round.
Reed, a senior, was chosen in the 27th round by the Marlins.