ALABAMA IN PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL
Alabama baseball is steeped in tradition with 25 conference championships, 22 NCAA Regional appearances, 14 SEC Championships, seven SEC Tournament titles and five College World Series appearances.
The Crimson Tide program has also developed a number of players to play at the next level, with 140 MLB draft picks since its inception in 1966. Dating back to 1912, Alabama has had 62 former players reach the big leagues. With three players selected from the 2012 squad, Alabama has had at least one player selected in every Major League Draft since 1979, a streak of 34 years.
Alabama currently has five former players active in the big leagues, and as many as six UA players saw Major League action in 2011. The current list of Major League players includes:
(C, Detroit Tigers)Tommy Hunter
(RHP, Baltimore Orioles)Wade LeBlanc
(LHP, Miami Marlins)David Robertson
(RHP, New York Yankees)Josh Rutledge
(INF, Colorado Rockies)
THE MLB DRAFT:
Alabama has had 129 players selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft since its inception in 1966. With three selections in the 2012 MLB draft, the Crimson Tide has had at least one player taken in the draft for 33 straight years, dating back to 1979. Overall, Alabama has had at least one player drafted in 38 of the 46 previous MLB drafts.
Over the past four years, the Crimson Tide has had 20 players drafted. Three players from the 2012 team were selected, including, center fielder Taylor Dugas (Yankees), pitcher Ian Gardeck (Giants) and shortstop Jared Reaves (Tigers). Seven players from the 2010 squad were selected, including pitcher Jimmy Nelson, first baseman Clay Jones, second baseman Ross Wilson, shortstop Josh Rutledge, third baseman/pitcher Jake Smith, pitcher Jason Townsend and pitcher Tyler White. Six players were drafted in 2009, including catcher Vin DiFazio (Texas), pitcher Austin Evans (Cleveland), pitcher Del Howell (Milwaukee), pitcher Austin Hyatt (Philadelphia), outfielder Kent Matthes (Colorado) and infielder Brandon May (Chicago Cubs).
The seven draft picks in 2010 marked the third most in school history, while the six selections in 2009 were the fourth-most in school history. Alabama had a school-record nine players drafted in 1986 and added eight draft picks in 1996. The 1983 Alabama team had six players drafted, including 1983 College Baseball Player of the Year David Magadan (2nd Round - New York Mets).
Over the past 12 years (dating back to 2001), Alabama has had 53 players drafted, including first round selections Jeremy Brown (2002), Taylor Tankersley (2004) and Tommy Hunter (2007). Of those 53 players, 24 have been pitchers, which include current MLB players, Dave Robertson (2006), Wade LeBlanc (2006) and Hunter. Matt Downs, who played in the Major Leagues in 2009-12, was a 2006 selection by the San Francisco Giants and Alex Avila, currently a catcher for the Detroit, was drafted by the Tigers in the fifth round, following the 2008 season.
Alabama is also well-represented throughout Minor League Baseball, with 10 former players playing at all three levels of the minors. The Crimson Tide has two AAA players, four AA players and four A players.
ALABAMA'S CURRENT MINOR LEAGUE ROSTER
||New Orleans Zephyrs (AAA, Pacific Coast League (Marlins))
||Charleston RiverDogs (A, South Atlantic League (Yankees))
||Augusta GreenJackets (A, South Atlantic League (Giants))
||Bowie Baysox (AA, Eastern League (Orioles))
||Tulsa Drillers (AA, Texas League (Rockies))
||Lehigh Valley IronPigs (AAA, International League (Phillies))
||Huntsville Stars (AA, Southern League (Brewers))
||West Michigan Whitecaps (A, Midwest League (Tigers))
||Altoona Curve (AA, Eastern League (Pirates))
||Jupiter Hammerheads (A-Advanced, Florida State League (Marlins))
2012 MLB Draft Picks
||New York Yankees
||San Francisco Giants
FIRST ROUND PICKS:
Alabama has had four first-round draft picks in its illustrious baseball history. The list includes Joe Vitiello (Kansas City, 1991), Jeremy Brown (Oakland, 2002), Taylor Tankersley (Florida, 2004) and Tommy Hunter (Texas, 2006). Vitiello was the seventh overall pick in the 1991 draft by the Kansas City Royals and remains as the highest drafted UA player in history.
Alabama won the 2006 SEC Championship with a 20-10 conference record. The Crimson Tide's 24th conference championship featured five players whom have already made their Major League Baseball debuts. The list includes catcher Alex Avila (Detroit, 2009), third baseman Matt Downs (San Francisco, 2009), pitcher Tommy Hunter (Texas, 2008), pitcher Wade LeBlanc (San Diego, 2008) and pitcher David Robertson (NY Yankees, 2008).
WORLD SERIES WINNERS:
Joe Sewell and David Robertson are the only former Alabama players to play on World Series championship team. Sewell was a two-time World Series winner with the Cleveland Indians (1920) and New York Yankees (1932). He played in the famous 1932 World Series against the Chicago Cubs, where Babe Ruth's famous "called home run" took place. Chicago's left fielder was Alabama native and alum Riggs Stephenson, a teammate of Sewell with the Crimson Tide from 1918-20. Robertson was a member of the 2009 World Series winner with the New York Yankees. Robertson was a relief pitcher on the 2009 Yankees championship squad.
Three former Alabama players have also managed in the big leagues, including Andy Cohen, Luke Sewell and Butch Hobson. Cohen's tenure was brief as he managed the Philadelphia Phillies for one game in 1960, winning his only game. Sewell won more than 600 games in 10 years with the St. Louis Browns and led the team to their only World Series championship in 1942. Hobson managed the Red Sox for three seasons from 1992-94.