During the 2011 MLB Draft, the Rainbow Warrior baseball team saw seven players drafted within the first 10 rounds and into the major leagues.
But since that year’s draft class, the ‘Bows haven’t had a player drafted before Round 10. And this year was no different.
While Hawaii’s season got away from them down the stretch -- mostly due to injuries -- the team still had enough talent to record a 27-win season. It might be disappointing to not see a Warrior drafted so far in this year’s draft, but it shouldn’t be too long before the first Hawaii player fulfills a lifelong dream of getting drafted into the MLB.
Here’s a quick look at three Warriors who have a good chance of hearing their name get called as the draft moves into Day 3:
Jackson Rees, Pitcher
Rees was a pitcher that head coach Mike Trapasso could rely on each time he stepped onto the mound. While he doesn’t project to be a starter at the next level, there’s little doubt that he won’t find a home in a team’s bullpen as a reliever.
This past season, Rees racked up a record of 5-3 with an ERA of 3.86. He also struck out 57 batters while walking 35.
Kekai Rios, Catcher
A player who really came on strong for the Warriors once Big West play began, Rios shouldn’t have to wait long for his name to get called tomorrow during the draft. After all, his numbers tell the story.
Not only is Rios a capable defensive player, but he can also make an impact from the batter’s box. Rios batted .270 this season and racked up 41 hits while scoring 22 runs.
Maaki Yamasaki, Infielder
For many Hawaii fans, it would be a shame to see Yamasaki leave Manoa after just one season with the ‘Bows. However, the honor of being drafted into the MLB wouldn’t come as a surprise after an impressive and somewhat unexpected debut season.
Yamasaki came into this past season as a strong defensive second baseman. And while he starred defensively, he turned heads with his ability to hit, run and get on base. Yamasaki led the Warriors with a .325 batting average, accumulating 62 hits over the course of 51 games.
Yamasaki recorded 19 RBI and had an impressive on base percentage of .409 from the leadoff spot.
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