The Kelowna Falcons suddenly have a gap in their roster after MVP Trent Tingelstad told his hometown newspaper he’s likely to turn pro this summer.
The Seattle Mariners took the 20-year-old Marysville, Wash., native in the 22nd round, 666th overall, on Wednesday during the Major League Baseball draft.
“I grew up in the backyard pretending I was a Seattle Mariner and everything,” he told the Everett Herald. “It’s a dream come true, not only that I got drafted, but having a chance to play in the Mariners’ organization is just a bonus.”
Not only was Tingelstad the Falcons’ MVP, he was named the West Coast League’s best player last season after leading Kelowna to a WCL finals’ appearance.
Tingelstad has just completed his junior season at University of Louisianna at Monroe, hitting .353 with seven home runs and 46 runs batted in.
Tingelstad had one season of eligibility remaining, which means he could have stayed in Kelowna this summer.
Instead, he’ll likely head to Arizona for a physical and mini-camp before being reassigned into the Mariners’ farm system.
One likely destination is the single-A Everett AquaSox, his hometown team.
“You never know what can happen in a year, good and bad,” Tingelstad told the Herald. “I would have a hard time missing out on the opportunity.”
Kelowna manager Ryan Wright had Tingelstad for one game — Tuesday’s 4-2 win over the Bells in Bellingham.
“Trent had a big first day for us. He had a big two-run bomb,” Wright said. “He’s a heck of a player; one of the most pure hitters I’ve seen out there.”
Two other Falcons heard their names called by Major League Baseball this week.
The Minnesota Twins chose UBC Thunderbirds pitcher Niall Windeler in the 19th round.
“It feels amazing,” the Toronto native told Gothunderbirds.ca. “It was a goal when I came to UBC and just to have it happen, I can’t put it into words right now.”
Windeler, a six-foot-four, 210-pound ace, is also coming off his junior season with UBC. There’s no word on his plans, but it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see him sign with Minnesota.
One player likely to remain in Kelowna this year is infielder Dan Pruitt.
The Falcons have him penciled into the lineup even though the Detroit Tigers used a 38th-round selection on him this week.
The six-foot-six, 245-pound first-baseman plans to make the jump from junior college to Dallas Baptist University this fall.
Wright, for one, is happy to welcome the hard-hitting Pruitt to Kelowna.
“We needed some thump in the middle of the order, so that will help.”