Editor’s note: This - catching up with former South Dakota State athletes now in the pros - may become a semi-regular summer segment. You like?
Recent SDSU grad and right-handed pitcher Layne Somsen is hoping that one team likes him enough to select him in the three-day MLB Draft that started Thursday. Former Jacks standout hurler Blake Treinen was taken by two teams: The Marlins and the As.
And now he’s with a third organization: The Nationals. Treinen was traded there over the summer. He learned about the move a few minutes after it happened while hanging out with a friend in Omaha.
"I was a little worked up at first," Treinen said. "I had some good friends at Oakland. But it’s turned out to be probably for the best. We have a great pitching coach here in Harrisburg. I’ve seen lots of strides in my ability this year."
The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder is 5-5 with a 3.97 ERA for Double-A Harrisburg in the Eastern League, a club coached by former Twins player Matt LeCroy. Treinen has gone at least six innings in nine of his last 10 games.
"He’s making really big strides, keeps improving every time out," LeCroy told PennLive.com. "And hopefully he can keep it going because he’s got a good arm, and he makes some good-hitting teams look pretty bad."
That hasn’t been easy. A former seventh-round pick, Treinen said the biggest different in Double-A compared to Single-A is the maturity of the hitters. Maybe he’ll follow former SDSU teammate Caleb Thielbar into the bigs in the future.
And, yes, Treinen has been following that story and the success of his alma mater.
"Everyone that played with him knows his command with all of his pitches is matched by none," he said of Thielbar. "I’ve talked to a couple guys on our team that have played with him in the past when he was in the indy leagues - they had no idea how he wasn’t with a team. It just shoes that hard work pays off. That guy just works and works and works."
Terry Vandrovec also posts regular updates on his Twitter page.