Cal Poly

Former Cal Poly baseball standouts making their way through the professional ranks

Former Cal Poly baseball standout Nick Torres, center, will play in his second minor-league all-star game later this month. Torres was drafted in the fourth round by the San Diego Padres in 2014.
Former Cal Poly baseball standout Nick Torres, center, will play in his second minor-league all-star game later this month. Torres was drafted in the fourth round by the San Diego Padres in 2014. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

The 2014 edition of the Cal Poly baseball team is considered among the best in program history for many reasons.

It was a group that went 47-12 overall, won a Big West Conference championship and captured two postseason victories during the San Luis Obispo Regional.

Despite having only four seniors on the roster, the Mustangs dominated conference opponents in nearly every statistical category and posted a 27-3 mark inside Baggett Stadium during the regular season.

Of the 32 players listed on the 2014 roster, 14 have since been selected in the Major League Baseball draft, including eight of the nine Mustangs who started in the season finale.

Now two years later, several of those former Cal Poly standouts are pursuing a career in professional baseball.

Navigating the expansive minor-league system is a longer process than the casual fan might realize, yet many ex-Mustangs are proving they’re prepared for the challenge.

Here’s a look at where members of the 2014 Cal Poly baseball team are now:

Class of 2014

Following the most successful season in program history, six Mustangs were selected in the 2014 MLB draft and four went in the first seven rounds.

Matt Imhof, a 6-foot-5, 220-pound left-handed pitcher, was chosen by the Philadelphia Phillies in the second round. He currently plays for the Class-A Advanced Clearwater Threshers in the Florida State League and owns a 4-3 record with a 3.98 ERA in nine starts this season.

Former Big West Defensive Player of the Year Chris Hoo also is playing at the Class-A Advanced level, with the Juniper Hammerheads in the Miami Marlins organization. The standout catcher is hitting .260 with 27 hits and nine RBI this spring.

Outfielder Nick Torres has experienced the most professional success among the 2014 class, having reached the Double-A level within the San Diego Padres farm system. Torres was selected to participate in the 80th-annual Texas League All-Star Game next week, and the league leader in doubles will start at designated hitter.

It’s the second straight year the 22-year-old Torres was named a minor-league all-star.

Class of 2015

Six more Mustangs were drafted in 2015, led by first baseman Brian Mundell, who was taken in the seventh round by the Colorado Rockies.

Mundell was a Northwest League all-star last summer and has continued to build on that success this season. He participated in the Class-A South Atlantic League All-Star Game on Tuesday and went 1 for 3 with a single. The 6-3, 230-pound Mundell is hitting .345 with 43 RBI and five home runs and is currently enjoying a 10-game hitting streak.

Second baseman Mark Mathias has been in a recent groove offensively with the Class A Advanced Lynchburg Hillcats. The former third-round draft pick of the Cleveland Indians owns a .260 batting average with 26 RBI and three home runs, including two in the last eight games.

Left fielder Zack Zehner, playing with the Class A Advanced Tampa Yankees, was placed on the temporarily inactive list earlier this month. He has since returned and is batting .264 with two triples, two home runs and 12 RBI in 51 games.

Right-handed pitchers Casey Bloomquist (17th round to the Chicago Cubs) and Danny Zandona (21st round to the Boston Red Sox) are both finding their footing at the Class-A level.

Bloomquist owns a 4-3 record this spring with a 2.56 ERA and 41 strikeouts against six walks for the South Bend Cubs in the Midwest League. Zandona was recently assigned to the Lowell Spinners of the New York-Penn League and gave up one run on three hits in his first appearance Monday night.

Shortstop Peter Van Gansen overcame an ankle injury in late May to have a strong month of June for the Class-A Fort Wayne TinCaps of the San Diego Padres organization. Van Gansen — hitting .275 over his last 10 games — made a name for himself last August when he hit a walk-off single in the Northwest League All-Star Game.

His average has dipped some this summer, down 30 points to .237 against the higher level of competition.

Class of 2016

The three most recent draftees in Justin Calomeni (Colorado Rockies), Brett Barbier (Philadelphia Phillies) and John Schuknecht (Los Angeles Angels) have each signed professional contracts.

Calomeni, a 6-3, 210-pound right-handed pitcher, made his professional debut Sunday for the Boise Hawks of the Northwest League, pitching one scoreless inning of relief with one strikeout.

Schuknecht made his professional debut Tuesday for the AZL Angels of the Arizona Rookie League. He started in the outfield and walked twice, drove in a run on a fielder’s choice and stole a base.

According to Cal Poly, Barbier, a 16th-round pick as a utility player, is still awaiting his first professional assignment.

Mustangs in the MLB since 2014

2016

  • Justin Calomeni, RHP, Colorado Rockies
  • Brett Barbier, UT, Philadelphia Phillies
  • John Schuknecht, OF, Los Angeles Angels

2015

  • Mark Mathias, 2B, Cleveland Indians
  • Brian Mundell, 1B, Colorado Rockies
  • Peter Van Gansen, SS, San Diego Padres
  • Casey Bloomquist, RHP, Chicago Cubs
  • Zack Zehner, OF, New York Yankees
  • Danny Zandona, RHP, Boston Red Sox

2014

  • Matt Imhof, LHP, Philadelphia Phillies
  • Nick Torres, OF, San Diego Padres
  • Reed Reilly, RHP, Boston Red Sox
  • Jimmy Allen, 2B, Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Chris Hoo, C, Miami Marlins
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