WESTFIELD, Massachusetts (July 12, 2023) – The third day of the 2023 Major League Baseball Draft was filled with familiar faces, as five former Westfield Starfires were selected by MLB teams.
The five selections were the most for any team in the Futures League, which had 18 alumni picked overall.
Brandyn Garcia went in the 11th Round to the Seattle Mariners, who also selected Elijah Dale in the 13th Round. Jackson Hornung went in the 16th Round to the Toronto Blue Jays, Mark Coley was selected by the Florida Marlins in the 17th Round, and Alec Baker was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 18th Round.
"First and foremost really, I'm simultaneously proud of and happy for all our guys that managed to get drafted this season. Playing professional baseball has never been more challenging and getting that opportunity isn't just a testament to their ability, but also to their character and work ethic. I'm just grateful we got to be a part of their story along the way,” said Vice President of Baseball Operations Hunter Golden.
He added “I think it says a lot not just about the league, but our organization, too. It's such a tremendous platform for young talent to showcase and develop themselves in a competitive environment. Every year the league ends up with more and more players drafted - and we're seeing the competition level increase every year, which isn't just great for our baseball credentials, but exciting for fans, who get to see next level talent up close in their own communities."
Garcia, a pitcher, was a member of the 2020 Starfires. The East Granby, Connecticut native was a rising freshman at Quinnipiac University at the time and made nine pitching appearances, including three starts. He fanned 26 batters in 20.2 innings of work that season. Most recently, he pitched his senior season at Texas A&M University, and struck out 56 in 43.2 innings in 27 relief appearances.
Dale was a two-way player on the inaugural 2019 Starfires team, and though he primarily played shortstop for Westfield, he was drafted as a pitcher. The St. Louis, Missouri native was a key in the origins of the “BullensMagic” hashtag the team uses, hitting a ninth-inning tying home run to the tune of Laura Branigan’s Gloria. This season at Illinois State, he struck out 65 in 43 innings across 19 relief appearances.
Hornung, a catcher and first baseman, was the most outstanding player in the league in 2022, where he led the Futures League with a .363 average, nine home runs, and 45 RBI. The Ashland, Massachusetts native’s pinch-hit three-run double in the bottom of the ninth in the season finale helped push the Starfires to their first-ever playoff appearance. He hit .424 this season at Skidmore College, earning All-American status in the process and ending his collegiate career as a .430 hitter.
Coley spent the 2020 campaign with Westfield, playing both third base and left field. The native of Hartford, Connecticut racked up four home runs in 29 games, driving in a dozen and scoring 17 times, and worked 15 walks as well. The University of Rhode Island grad hit .316 in his final collegiate season in 2023.
Baker, a pitcher, was also on the 2020 Starfires. The Springfield, Massachusetts native made seven appearances in relief for Westfield, allowing just one run in 8.2 innings while striking out 13, closing out four contests for the squad. At Dallas Baptist University this season, the senior struck out 40 in 40.1 innings, a career best.