RIVERSIDE, Calif. – After hearing their names called during the 2014 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, contracts were signed and assignments were given to a trio of California Baptist University Lancers.
The third and final Lancer signed his first professional contract on Wednesday. Third baseman Blair Moore signed first on June 11th to begin his career with the Chicago White Sox, which selected him in the 28th round with the 828nd pick. Starting pitcher Trevor Oaks -- the highest drafted player in CBU history -- officially signed on with the Los Angeles Dodgers, who took him in the seventh round at 219. After being taken in the 15th round at 463, right-handed reliever Caleb Dirks signed with the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday.
Oaks and Dirks were both assigned to their franchise’s rookie affiliates, with Oaks joining the Dodgers’ Ogden Raptors and Dirks beginning his career with the Danville Braves. Moore has yet to receive his assignment.
After a strong sophomore season, Oaks was rewarded handsomely when it came to postseason awards. He was most notably named the Pitcher of the Year in the PacWest and NCAA Division II West Region by the National Collegiate Baseball Writer’s Association and American Baseball Coaches Association. In addition to three All-American awards, Oaks was named one of eight finalists for the Brett Tomko award, which is given to the top Division II pitcher.
In addition to the slew of awards, Oaks’ statistics provide plenty of evidence for why he was he a high draft pick. He finished 2014 with an 11-0 record, three complete games and two shutouts in 15 starts and 107 innings pitched. He finished the year ranked eighth and 12th in strikeouts (107) and wins (11) in Division II and also boasted a 1.68 earned-run average and struck out 107 batters without allowing a triple or homer all year.
Dirks earned second-team honors in the PacWest after registering a 2.85 ERA, 4-1 record and eight saves in a team-high 23 appearances among pitchers. The hard-throwing closer produced 52 strikeouts in 41 innings.
Moore earned All-PacWest honors all three years at CBU, hitting .340 (197-for-579) and slugging .510 with a .400 on-base percentage over that span. Most recently, he drove in 40 runs, scored 48 times and bashed 10 doubles and three home runs while maintaining a .294 (58-for-197) batting average.
If Moore is assigned to a team it will give the Lancers six former players currently playing professionally in the minor leagues.
Jon Bengard is currently in the White Sox organization, as well, with the Great Falls Voyagers. He made his first appearance of the year on Monday and was impressive in doing so. The right-handed pitcher struck out batters and did not allow a base runner in one inning of work to earn a save in a 7-4 win over the Billings Mustangs.
Zach Esquerra is currently with the Arizona Diamonbacks’ class-A affiliate South Bend Silver Hawks. The Northwest League Player of the Week back on September of 2013 is hitting .244 (32-for-131) with 27 runs, 24 runs batted in, eight doubles, three home runs and five stolen bases through 40 games.
Sharif Othman is currently in the Miami Marlins organization, with the Jupiter Hammerheads, their class-A advanced affiliate. The catcher earned a promotion from the class-A Greensboro Grasshoppers on June 2nd. On the year, he is hitting .211 (19-for-90) with 12 RBIs, nine runs, four doubles and three homers.