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Utes in Major League Baseball

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With the MLB draft fast approaching, let's take a look at draft chances for current Utes, as well as examine how former Utes currently in Major League Baseball are doing.

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The 2015 Major League Baseball first-year player draft, also known as "Rule 4" draft, will take place on Monday June 8th. Utah has never been a big baseball school and the group of Utes who have made it in the big leagues is small. Looking at the 2015 draft class, there isn't much (if any) talk about current players getting drafted. The Rule 4 draft is massive however, (52 rounds) and a lot of players get selected, so there is a chance a few Utes get selected in this year's draft.

The below list shows current Utes eligible to be drafted in the Rule 4 draft. None of them are yet seniors and with none of them ranking high on any pre-draft lists, the chance of them all returning to school is high.

Name Position Year
AJ Young C JR
Cody Scaggari SS JR
Wyler Smith OF JR
Dallas Carroll 3B rSO
Kody Davis 2B JR
Dalton Carroll RHP JR
Bret Helton RHP JR
Hunter Rodriguez LHP rSO

Third baseman Dallas Carroll, shortstop Cody Scaggari and second baseman Kody Davis are the best bets to get drafted. "The Baseball Draft Report" lists Scaggari and Carroll as the no. 36 and 37 best hitting prospects in the Pac-12 respectively. With so many high school players and college players eligible to be drafted not to mention pitching prospects, ranking 36th and 37th in just the Pac-12 means if they are to get drafted at all, it would probably be pretty low.

The Utah team was young this season and did not have a particularly successful season. If these guys play another year and improve with a more experienced supporting cast, their draft chances could increase significantly for next year's draft. Last year the Utes had three pitchers drafted. Mitch Watrous, Nick Green and Tanner Banks all heard their names called during the draft.

Changing gears, let's look at a few former Utes who have made it. Utah has currently has three active former players that have Major League experience. Those players are Stephen Fife of the Dodgers, C.J. Cron of the Angels and the most recent addition Tyler Wagner of the Brewers.

Stephen Fife P

Fife made his major league debut with the Dodgers on July 17th 2012 against the Philadelphia Phillies. He started five games for the Dodgers in 2012 going 0-5 with a 2.70 ERA. It wasn't until his next season on June 13th, 2013 that Fife picked up his first major league win in a start against the San Diego Padres. Fife made 12 appearances for the Dodgers in 2013, ten starts and two relief appearances, finishing 4-4 with a 3.86 ERA. Last season, Fife made only one appearance for the Dodgers, and it was not good, giving up four runs in six innings. Fife was placed on the disabled list in August and ended up having to have Tommy John surgery.

Fife is currently a free agent and is recovering from his surgery. It is unclear whether Fife will get another shot to play in the majors, as Tommy John surgery requires a full year to recover from. Return to the performance level prior the surgery is not guaranteed.

CJ Cron 1B/DH

Cron is currently a member of the Angels AAA affiliate, the Salt Lake City Bees. Cron spent most of 2014 with the Angels however, making his debut on May 3rd, 2014. Cron spent the first part of the season platooning with Raul Ibanez at the designated hitter position and playing occasionally at first base. Cron became the Angels full time designated hitter on June 21st after the Angels released a struggling Ibanez. Cron finished his first year in the majors with a .256 batting average with 11 homeruns and 37 RBI's in 242 at-bats.

Cron got off to a slow start in 2015 hitting only .204 through his first 98 at-bats before the Angels sent him down to the Bees. Since arriving back in Salt Lake City, Cron has been mashing, hitting .394 with 2 home runs and 6 RBI's in just 29 at-bats. If Cron can keep it up, his stay in Salt Lake will be a short one.

Tyler Wagner P

Wagner is a former closer for the Utes and holds the single season save record for the Utes with 12 in a season. He was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2012 and worked his way through the Brewers farm system being converted to a starting pitcher. Wagner made his Major League debut just this past week on Sunday, May 31st. Wagner did not fare well in his debut, lasting only 3 2/3 innings while giving up five runs on nine hits. The game would turn into a 17 inning marathon with the Brewers eventually pulling out the win, 7-6. Despite the Brewer's original plans to keep him in the big leagues, the Brewer's sent Wagner back to AAA after the game to call up a relief pitcher, due to the fact so much of the bullpen had worked the 17 inning game. Wagner is still young at 24 years old and will have some more time in the minors to hone his skills.