By Will Montreal
Grafton, WI – The 2018 MLB Draft featured the selection of 1,204 players who now have the chance to realize their dreams and play professional baseball. Fifteen of those players suited up for the Chinooks at one time and will look to follow in the footsteps of Brian Anderson, Harrison Bader, Andrew Stevenson, and Zack Granite as former Chinooks to make an impact in the big leagues.
Owen Miller, Shortstop, Illinois State
Miller was the first former Chinook to be drafted in 2018, as he went in the third round at 84 overall to the San Diego Padres. He spent two years with Lakeshore in 2016 and 2017, hitting .259 and .365 respectively. The 2017 season was cut short for Miller though due to injury, but he still managed to make a big impact in his 13 games. He will forever be remembered in Chinooks history after he hit for the cycle twice in a span of three games.
At Illinois State, Miller was a consistent hitter for the Redbirds, posting a career batting average of .346 and slugging percentage of .508. His final season resulted in a .390 batting average with five home runs and 31 batted in over 48 games.
Gage Canning, Outfield, Arizona State
Canning was selected two rounds later, going to the Washington Nationals at pick 161. He only played in nine games for the Chinooks in 2016, batting .222 with three runs and a couple of stolen bases. Canning was more successful in college batting .369 as a junior for the Sun Devils. He added nine home runs and drove in 45 runners, slugging a career high .648. In both his sophomore and junior campaigns, Canning led Arizona State in almost every offensive category, showing his skills as a hitter.
Zach Spears, Pitcher, Miami (OH)
Another player to spend two season with the Chinooks, Spears pitched in nine games over two years in Lakeshore. In 2016, Spears started two games, going 1-0 with an ERA of 4.00. He struck out 11 in nine innings of work. Spears had seven starts in 2017, going 1-2 with an ERA of 5.50.
Spears, drafted in the eighth round (pick 234) by the Pittsburgh Pirates, enjoyed a solid 2018 season with the Miami Redhawks. He finished 4-5 in 14 appearances, with an ERA of 3.73, second best among starting pitchers for Miami.
Nick Gatewood, Catcher, Georgia State
The Chinooks starting catcher in 2017 was drafted in the 11th round (pick 321) by the San Diego Padres. Gatewood enjoyed a good offensive campaign for the Chinooks, batting .303 with 41 RBI, which finished second on the team. He added five home runs as well.
Gatewood went back to Georgia State and continued to hit well, hitting .322 with a team high 13 home runs. He led the team in RBI (49) and total bases (113) as well to become the third highest Panther drafted all-time.
Austin Havekost, Pitcher, Kent State
Havekost was selected in the 17th round at pick 506 by the Toronto Blue Jays. He was another player to spend two years with the Chinooks in 2016 and 2017. The right-hander found more success for the Chinooks in 2017, as he finished with a 2.73 ERA in 13 games including nine starts. He also led the team with 56 innings pitched in 2017 and tied for the team lead in wins with five.
Layne Looney, Pitcher, Richmond/Luke Mangieri, Outfield, Bradley/Heath Renz, Pitcher, UW-Whitewater
Looney, Mangieri, and Renz were all drafted off of the 2018 Lakeshore Chinooks roster. Looney was selected in the 19th round by the Chicago Cubs after throwing four shutout innings and striking out nine while adding a save for the Chinooks.
Mangieri was drafted in the 25th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He appeared in five games for Lakeshore, hitting .278 with double and an RBI in his limited time for Lakeshore.
Renz, drafted in the 27th round by the Tampa Rays, was one of the Chinooks top pitchers before being selected. Renz had started two games, only allowing one run to the tune of a 0.77 ERA. He added 11 strikeouts as well.
Rylan Thomas, Outfield, Central Florida
Thomas, selected in the 26th round by the Cincinnati Reds, put together a huge offensive season for the Chinooks in 2017. He batted .314 with a team high 10 home runs and 51 RBI. Among regular starters, Thomas led the team with a .915 OPS and .520 slugging percentage.
At Central Florida, Thomas continued his hot hitting in his second season for the Knights. He led his team in a number of offensive categories, including average (.343), home runs (13), and slugging (.587). He finished second with 55 RBI as well.
There were six other former Chinooks drafted including Liam Jenkins (17th round, Cleveland Indians), Hayden Senger (24th round, New York Mets), Nick Horvath (25th round, Baltimore Orioles), Dazon Cole (25th round, Los Angeles Angels), Andrew Shaps (31st round, Los Angeles Dodgers), and Zac Taylor (36th round, Minnesota Twins).