Seven former SwampDogs have been able to live out the ultimate dream and play in the major leagues; David Aardsma (2004/San Francisco Giants), Mark Reynolds (2007/Arizona Diamondbacks), Michael McKenry (2010/Colorado Rockies), Andy Dirks (2011/Detroit Tigers), Carter Capps (2012/Seattle Mariners), Kevin Quackenbush (2014/San Diego Padres), and Layne Somsen (2016/Cincinatti Reds). Let’s take a look at some of our alumni in professional baseball during the 2016 season.
INF Mark Reynolds (’03)
Reynolds played his collegiate baseball for the NCAA powerhouse University of Virginia Cavaliers. He was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 16th round (476th overall) in the 2004 MLB Draft. Since his debut in 2007, Reynolds has played for seven different big league teams throughout his career. At 33 years old, he currently plays for the Colorado Rockies.
In 2016 with the Rockies, Reynolds has played in 106 games at first base, hitting for a .283 average with 12 home runs and 50 RBIs. In the 10-game stretch from August 1-11 before going on the disabled list, Reynolds hit an impressive .417 with a home run and eight RBIs.
RHP Kevin Quackenbush (’08)
Quackenbush has maintained a successful early career in the major leagues. He played his collegiate ball at the University of South Florida and was selected in the eighth round of the 2011 MLB Draft by the San Diego Padres. He made his major league debut on April 25, 2014.
During the course of the 2016 season, Quackenbush has alternated time at the major league level for the Padres and their Triple A club, the El Paso Chihuahuas. He is currently an active member of the Padres where he has posted a 7-4 record with a 3.40 ERA in 47 2/3 innings pitched this season in 47 games. In his last 10 appearances, Quackenbush is 2-1 with a 1.46 ERA in 12 innings of work with 18 strikeouts. With El Paso, he currently holds a 1-0 mark with a 2.08 ERA in 13 innings with 16 strikeouts.
C Michael McKenry (’05)
At 31 years old, McKenry has maintained a long, successful career in the minor and major leagues. The Middle Tennessee State University product was proudly drafted in the seventh round of the 2006 MLB Draft by the Colorado Rockies. He made his major league debut on September 8, 2010.
In his career, McKenry has played for multiple big league clubs. He began the 2016 MLB season in the St Louis Cardinals Organization where he signed as a minor league free agent on May 27. He was later signed by the Atlanta Braves on July 23 and then traded to the Milwaukee Brewers on August 15.
McKenry remains in the Brewers organization, playing for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox of the Pacific Coast League, the team’s Triple A Affiliate. In his 10 games with Colorado Springs, McKenry has hit for a .308 average with eight hits, two doubles and a home run. He has hit .294 for his total average in the minor leagues in 2016, playing for the Gwinnett Braves (Triple A Atlanta) and Memphis Redbirds (Triple A St. Louis). McKenry has compiled 57 hits in 61 games this season with 14 doubles, four triples, and seven home runs.
LHP Joey Lucchesi (’15)
Lucchesi took the mound for the SwampDogs during the 2015 season as one of the league’s top pitchers. Standing at 6-5, 204 pounds, he comes by the way of Southeast Missouri State and was the second CPL alumni to be selected in the 2016 MLB Draft class. Luchessi was taken in fourth round (114 overall) by the San Diego Padres.
The former SEMO RedHawk has put together a terrific season on the bump for the Tri-City Dust Devils of the Northwest League, the Class A Short Season affiliate of the Padres. Despite posting an 0-2 record, he has compiled a dominant 1.50 ERA over 36 innings pitched with 49 strikeouts in 13 total appearances including nine starts on the hill. In his last 10 starts from July 1 to August 22, the southpaw has a 1.20 ERA with 43 strikeouts.
RHP Alex Mateo (’14)
Mateo took part in one season for the ‘Dogs in the summer of 2014, playing his college baseball at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He was taken in the 22nd round (653 overall) in the 2016 MLB Draft by the Miami Marlins.
Mateo plays for a local North Carolina minor league franchise in his first season in the pros with the Greensboro Grasshoppers of the South Atlantic League, the Class A affiliate of the Marlins. In 15 mound appearances, the righty has put together a 2-3 mark with a 3.53 ERA in 30 1/3 innings of work with 33 total strikeouts. However in his last 10 games, Mateo has posted a 2-1 record with a 1.93 ERA with 24 punch outs in 23 1/3 innings.
RHP Austin Mason (’15)
Mason was a member of the 2015 SwampDogs and played his college ball at The Citadel. The righty heard his name called in the 17th round (496 overall) of the 2015 MLB Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Greer, S.C. native has put up solid numbers for the Kane County Cougars of the Midwest League this season. In 24 mound appearances with one start, Mason has posted a perfect 5-0 record with a 3.09 ERA in 49 1/3 innings of work. In those innings, he also compiled 35 strikeouts for the Class A affiliate of the Diamondbacks.
RHP Drasen Johnson (’12)
Johnson played for SwampDogs in the summer of 2012 and seeks to maintain a long pitching career in professional baseball. He played his collegiate ball at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, home of the Fighting Illini. He was selected in the 26th round (767 overall) of the 2015 MLB Draft by the Colorado Rockies.
Within his first two seasons in the minor leagues, Johnson has a career 8-8 record with a 3.76 ERA in 136 1/3 total innings pitched. He played for the Boise Hawks, the Class A Short Season affiliate of the Rockies, in his first season in professional baseball. In 2016, Johnson is an active member of the Asheville Tourists, the Class A affiliate of the Rockies located in the city of Asheville, N.C. within the beautiful Blue Ridge mountain region of the Tar Heel State.
CF Mike Tauchman (’12)
Tauchman has quickly moved up the minor league ranks in his young professional career and is one of the more notable outfield prospects in the Colorado Rockies organization. The former Bradley University Brave was taken in the 10th round (289 overall) by the Rockies in the 2013 MLB Draft.
The centerfielder is now only one step away from the major leagues as he currently plays for the Albuquerque Isotopes of the Pacific Coast League, the Triple A affiliate of the Rockies organization. This season, he holds a .278 average in 120 games played with 124 hits, six triples and a home run. In the 10-game stretch from August 19-28, Tauchman has hit an astounding .390 with 16 hits, while clubbing his first home run in Triple A on August 27.
The SwampDogs look to continue the strong tradition of producing top-quality talent when our new group of players arrive in Fayetteville for the 2017 season. Be sure to stay tuned for new and exciting news about next summer coming soon! Also, be on the lookout for more offseason developments including; feature stories, new player acquisitions, organization news and more.