St. Mary’s College may be a small school, but it has produced some impressive talent lately. Oakland A’s pitcher Ken Waldichuk is only the latest product of the school to reach the majors.
The issue is that Waldichuk is going to have a tough act to follow. While 69 different players from St. Mary’s have reached the majors, including a pair of Hall of Famers in Hank O’Day and Harry Hooper, it is the recent alumni that will be more of a challenge. After all, as pointed out on the A’s website, this is the same school that produced Corbin Burnes and Tony Gonsolin.
Oakland A’s hope Ken Waldichuk continues tradition
Gonsolin had a breakout campaign this season before injuries shut him down. He had posted a stellar 16-1 record with a 2.10 ERA and a 0.865 WHiP over his 128.1 innings, striking out 116 batters with 35 walks. He made his first All Star Game this season and should receive votes for the NL Cy Young award.
That is an award that Burnes already has in his possession. A two time All Star and the defending NL Cy Young winner, he has emerged as the ace of the Brewers’ staff, the type of pitcher that any team would want to build around.
Naturally, the A’s are hoping for the same from Waldichuk. The headliner of the Frankie Montas trade, he is easily the A’s top pitching prospect. He showed promise in his major league debut on Thursday, although he will be a work in progress for the rest of this year.
It is also a lot of pressure on the prospect. He has to follow in the footsteps of two of the better pitchers in the National League over the past few seasons, especially now that Gonsolin has found his footing. However, based on his stuff and how hard he worked to turn himself into a top prospect in his own right, it is possible that he can continue that recent tradition.
Ken Waldichuk has some large footsteps to follow. If he does, the Oakland A’s could have the ace they need to build around.