Former Gauchos in the Pros

Jan. 14, 2000

Wynter Phoenix was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 1996 Amateur Draft, but later sat-out the season and ended up playing a year for an Independent Club. He signed a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1997. As a Gaucho, Phoenix ended his career in many of the career offensive categories, 241 Hits (6th), 21 Triples (1st), 34 Doubles (T 8th), 158 RBI's (6th), 176 Runs (5th) and 392 Total Bases (5th). In 1994, Phoenix earned Honorable Mention All-Conference and then in 1996, he was honored with a Second Team All-Conference award.

As a member of the Los Angeles Dodger organization, Phoenix has been climbing through the minor leagues, and at the end of this season was purchased by the Florida Marlins as the number two overall pick of the minor league draft. This gives him an opportunity as a invite to Spring Training, and if he does not make the big league squad, he will be sent back to the Dodgers club.

Last season, Phoenix had one of the best of his career. He started out in San Bernadino, and by the end of the season, was playing for the AA San Antonio Missions. He played a combined 122 games with 371 at bats and batted .301. He scored 65 runs, 112 hits, 16 doubles, 10 homeruns, and drove in 53 runs. With a strong arm from the outfield and continued solid offensive output, this should give Winter Phoenix an opportunity to take his game to the next level.

Mike Youngwas drafted in the fifth round of the 1997 Amateur Draft by the Toronto Blue Jays. As a Gaucho, Young maintained one of the strongest arms from the shortstop position in team history, not to mention, he had a huge bat from the middle of the Gaucho line-up. Young set the single season homerun record for shortstops with 12 in 1997. During the `97 season, Young had 237 at bats, 85 hits, 143 Total Bases, and 62 Runs scored. After the 1997 season, Mike Young was awarded First Team All-Big West.

This past season, Young played for the Dunedin Blue Jays in the Florida State League. He was among the league leaders in many offensive categories with .343 AVG., 129 Games, 495 at bats, 86 runs, 155 hits, 36 doubles, 3 triples, 5 homeruns, 83 RBI's, and 30 sb's. These impressive stats along with a great glove from either short or second base, has made Mike Young among the top 15 prospects in the Blue Jays farm system.

Dave Willis was the other half of the one-two combo along with Young during the 1997 season for UCSB. He was drafted in the 1997 Amateur Draft by the Kansas City Royals. As a Gaucho, Willis played four years either as a catcher, first baseman, or designated hitter. Willis finds himself in many of the career offensive categories, including 41 homeruns (1st), 442 total bases (2nd), 192 RBIs (2nd), 263 hits (4th), and 552 at bats (9th). Because of his impressive performances, Willis was awarded First Team All-Big West in 1996, and Honorable Mention All-Big West in 1997.

As a member of the Willmington Blue Rocks in the Class A Carolina League this past season, Willis helped his team to the League Championship. Willis was among the team leaders in many offensive categories, similar to his years as a Gaucho. He scored 59 runs, 115 hits (4th), 26 doubles (3rd), 16 HR's (T-1st), and 72 RBI's (T-4th).

Look for Dave Willis to move his way up the ranks in the Kansas City Royals organization from the third base position.

Brad Wright and Matt Dailey are the newest Gauchos drafted into professional baseball. Last season, Brad Wright earned team MVP honors, as well as First Team All-Big West. For the `98 season, Wright earned Honorable Mention All-Big West. Last year, Wright led the Gauchos with a .377 batting average, 54 runs and 84 hits. He also hit 12 doubles, 3 triples, 36 RBI's and accumulated 108 total bases. As a member Pitsfield Mets in the NY Penn League, Wright batted .258 in 63 games with 236 at bats. He had 61 hits, 38 runs, 9 doubles, 3 triples, 1 homerun, 23 RBI's and added 9 stolen bases.

Matt Dailey and his 6'3" build has had scouts seeking him since he began his career as a Gaucho. His stats while playing at Santa Barbara are not as impressive as one would expect from a pro caliber player, but Dailey has the potential to become a star at the next level. Drafted by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Dailey was sent to play in the NY Penn League for the Princeton Devil Rays. There he compiled a 1.29 ERA in 7 innings and only giving up 5 hits, 1 run, while striking out 6 batters.

Bill Duplissea played one season for the Gauchos after transering to Santa Barbara from the College of San Mateo. As a Gaucho (1999), he held down the catching duties better than was expected. Duplissea was not just a defensive specialist however, he batted .333 in 183 at bats. He had 61 hits, 14 doubles, five home runs, and drove in 21 runs. After his junior year, Duplissea was drafted as a free agent by the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was sent to play rookie ball for the Yakima Bears of the Northwest League. There, Duplissea played in only 13 games as catcher. He had 33 at bats, with five hits, scored five runs, hit two doubles, and one home run, while also driving in four runners. Duplissea will hopefully work his way up through the system and hopefully one day become a catcher in the Bigs.