UBC Thunderbirds third basemen – and Surrey resident – Mitch Robinson was selected by the New York Yankees in this week’s Major League Baseball draft. (UBC Athletics photo)

Surrey, Langley players selected in Major League Baseball Draft

Clayton Heights’ Mitch Robinson highlights local draft class after selection by New York Yankees

A quartet of young baseball players from Surrey, White Rock and Langley heard their names called during this week’s Major League Baseball Draft, which began Monday and wrapped up Wednesday afternoon.

The first local player off the board was Nick Trogrlic-Iverson, a former member of the Langley Blaze of the BC Premier Baseball League who was drafted in the 15th round by the Milwaukee Brewers, and he was followed six rounds later by another former member of the Blaze, Clayton Heights resident Mitch Robinson, who recently wrapped up his senior season as a third basemen for the University of B.C. Thunderbirds.

After Robinson’s selection – in the 21st round to the New York Yankees – the draft went another 14 rounds before another local name was called, when Cloverdale’s Damiano Palmegiani was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in Round 35. Palmegiani plays high-school ball in Alberta, for the Vauxhall Academy.

In the 40th and final round, Semiahmoo Peninsula pitcher David Rhodes – who currently plays in the PBL for the Blaze – was chosen by the Seattle Mariners.

Though he could not divulge much information while the draft was still happening, Milwaukee Brewers scout Marty Lehn – a White Rock resident who is also the general manager of the White Rock Tritons’ PBL program – said this year’s draft did feature a strong local contingent.

“The talent pool is pretty high,” Lehn told Peace Arch News, just moments after his team selected Troglic-Iverson, who now attends Central Arizona College.

Lehn added that Trogrlic-Iverson “has some real good upside.”

To be eligible for the MLB draft, players can be either in their junior or senior years of a four-year university, in any year of a junior-college program, or be seniors in high school. For the high-schoolers – such as Rhodes and Palmegiani – they can choose not to sign with their new MLB teams and play at the post-secondary level instead, and hope to be redrafted in a subsequent year.

Rhodes, for example, already has a scholarship inked with the NCAA’s University of Washington Huskies, while Palmegiani is set to attend Cal State-Northridge.

It’s for those reasons, rather than any based upon on-field talent, that players such as those two slip down the draft boards, Lehn explained.

“Signability becomes an issue for a lot of guys (with scholarships),” he said.

For university-level seniors like Robinson – who cannot return to school – the draft means they will have the opportunity to move to the pro level immediately, once they sign contracts with their new teams.

“It just feels amazing, I can’t really put it into words,” said Robinson in a news release issued by UBC Wednesday. “I’ve worked a long time for it, it validates that hard work does pay off and it just feels really good and I’m really excited.”

This past season, Robinson led UBC with a .361 batting average, was named to the all-NAIA West all-star team, and won a Cascade Collegiate Conference gold glove award for his work in the field.

“I think Mitchell’s going to be a good pro and he’ll be a great Yankee,” said UBC coach Chris Pritchett.

Rhodes is a former White Rock-South Surrey Baseball Association member who later moved to the Whalley organization, and in recent years has spent the bulk of his amateur baseball career playing south in the border, in the Seattle area.

Regardless of whether he chooes to stay the course with the University of Washington or turn pro with the Mariners, Lehn – who spoke to PAN prior to Rhodes being selected – said the young hurler “has a really bright future, whether it’s college or the pros.”

Just Posted

Two 23-year-old men die in separate Surrey motorcycle crashes in three days

One man died Thursday night after his motorcycle crashed on Highway 10, and another man died following a Tuesday crash

Take-home naloxone may be replacing 911 calls in Fraser Health area

Naloxone kits handed out up 29% over 2017, ambulance calls and emergency visits down 22-24%, deaths hold steady

334 brush and grass fires in Surrey since May 1

Surrey Fire Service says so far this month, there’s been at least 60

Renegades ‘02 undefeated through two days at softball nationals

White Rock ‘04 and ‘05 squads also at Canadian championships in Montreal

White Rock firefighters aid wildfire effort

Seaside department has sent three firefighters and one apparatus so far, with more set to deploy

Happy birthday Boler: An anniversary gathering of the cutest campers in Winnipeg

Hundreds of the unique trailers in Winnipeg to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Manitoba invention

Tim Hortons says its China expansion will include menu with congee, matcha

Coffee chain plans to open 1,500 stores in Asia over the next decade

How to help B.C. wildfire victims

Donations being taken by many organizations, BC Hydro waiving bills

5 to start your day

Mt. Hicks fire near Agassiz 15% contained, man dead in Surrey motorcycle incident and more

Whole city of Kimberley on an evacuation alert due to wildfires

Residents woke up Friday morning being told to get ready to leave any moment

Feds to allow charities to engage in political, but not partisan, activity

The plan is to allow charities to pursue political activities

Trump suggests Canada has been sidelined from latest NAFTA negotiations

Canadian officials have insisted they’re unfazed by being left out of the discussions

B.C. judge who cried during a victim statement to rule on recusing herself

The judge will decide if she’ll disqualify herself from sentencing a man for sexual assault

Photographer files complaint with police after alleged assault on the job

Toronto photographer says he was attacked while covering a protest

Most Read