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Debuting Spencer Torkelson highlights 48 former Pac-12 stars on MLB Opening Day rosters

Apr 10, 2022

Former ARIZONA STATE star and one of the top prospects in all of baseball, Spencer Torkelson, made his big league debut for the Detroit Tigers on Friday to highlight a list of 48 former Pac-12 stars to appear on Opening Day MLB rosters.  Torkelson, who is listed as a top-five prospect by both Baseball America and MLB Pipeline, went 0-4 in his debut while playing first base.

STANFORD leads the Pac-12 with eight players on the roster including three players still playing in the Bay Area.  Jed Lowrie and Stephen Piscotty both star with the Oakland A's while Austin Slater was the Opening Day hero for the San Francisco Giants.  Nico Hoerner is the starting shortstop for the Chicago Cubs while his former Stanford teammate Tommy Edman is starting at second base for the rival St. Louis Cardinals.  The former Stanford pitchers find themselves in the American League Central with Kris Bubic on the Kansas City Royals and Cal Quantrill on the Cleveland Guardians.  Houston Astros catcher Jason Castro, in his 12th big league season, is one of just eight Stanford alums all-time to play in over 900 major league games.

Torkelson's Sun Devils have the second-most players with six.  Catcher Austin Barnes returns for his eighth season with the World Champion Los Angeles Dodgers.  Merrill Kelly still calls the desert home and threw four shutout innings in his first start this season for the Arizona Diamondbacks.  Kole Calhoun played the last two seasons with the D'Backs but signed this season as a free agent with the Texas Rangers.  Trevor Williams is starting his full first season with the New York Mets after being traded to Queens last summer from the Cubs.  Reliever Ryan Burr starts the season on the injured list for the Chicago White Sox.

Staying in the desert, ARIZONA has five players in the big leagues to open the season. First baseman Bobby Dalbec is coming off a standout rookie season for the Boston Red Sox where he swatted 25 home runs.  Lefty Tylor Megill got the call on opening day for the New York Mets and went five scoreless innings to get the win.  Shortstop Kevin Newman is starting his fifth season with the Pittsburgh Pirates, having played a career-high 148 games last year.  Reliever Mark Melancon is beginning his 14th season in the big leagues and his first playing back in the state of Arizona with the Diamondbacks.  First baseman Alfonso Rivas is starting his second season with the Chicago Cubs.

CALIFORNIA had five players suit up on opening day including slugger Andrew Vaughn who clubbed 22 homers in his rookie season for the Chicago White Sox.  Marcus Semien had 45 home runs last season, the most ever by a second baseman, and finished second in the AL MVP race for Toronto but signed with the Texas Rangers in the offseason.  After seven seasons in nearby Oakland, first baseman Mark Canha signed a free-agent deal with the New York Mets.  Daulton Jefferies however is still in Oakland and threw five shutout innings in his first start to lead the A's to their first win of the season. After spending his first five seasons in Philadelphia, catcher Andrew Knapp signed across the state with the Pittsburgh Pirates a few days before the season started. 

Five former UCLA Bruins appeared on rosters including Gerrit Cole who made his third straight Opening Day start for the New York Yankees  Shortstop Brandon Crawford is in his 12th season with the San Francisco Giants and has played the eighth-most MLB games by a UCLA alum.  Righty Cody Poteet returns to the Marlins for his second season while both Griffin Canning (Los Angeles Angels) and James Kaprielian (Oakland A’s) started the season on the injured list.  

Not to be outdone by their crosstown rivals, USC also had five alums in the big leagues on Opening Day.  Reliever Ian Kennedy is in his 16th big league season and his second stint with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Outfielder Lars Nootbar starts his first full season with the St. Louis Cardinals.  Brad Boxberger re-signed with Milwaukee this offseason after appearing out of the Brewers bullpen a career-high 71 times last season.  Lefty Danny Coulombe once again will be in the Minnesota Twins bullpen while catcher Garrett Stubbs joins the Phillies after three years with the Astros. 

OREGON STATE had four big leaguers to start the season while they wait for top prospect Adley Rutschman (Baltimore Orioles) to make his debut after straining his triceps in spring training.  After starting his career on the south side of Chicago, Nick Madrigal made his Chicago Cubs debut as the starting second baseman. Outfielder Steven Kwan made his big league debut on Opening Day, going 1-2 with two walks for the Cleveland Guardians and then had a five-hit game in his third game, just the sixth player in AL/NL history to reach that milestone. And after spending his first seven years in the American League, pitcher Matthew Boyd signed with the San Francisco Giants but starts the season on the injured list after a September surgery. 

Four former OREGON players are in the big leagues and all of them are pitchers.  Tyler Anderson signed with the World Champion Los Angeles Dodgers and will team up with fellow Duck alum Garrett Cleavinger in the bullpen. Cole Irvin is once again in the A’s rotation after winning 10 games for Oakland last season. Jake Reed returns to the New York Mets bullpen but starts the season on the injured list with an oblique strain. 

Three former WASHINGTON pitchers start the year in the majors. Austin Voth will likely once again be a workhorse in the Washington Nationals bullpen. Adam Cimber has been a stud reliever for the Blue Jays after being traded to Toronto last June. Andrew Kittredge picked up the win on Opening Day for the Tampa Bay Rays out of the bullpen.  

UTAH had two players on MLB rosters for Opening Day.  First baseman C.J. Cron, now in his ninth MLB season, looks to build on the 28 homers he hit in his first year with the Colorado Rockies.  And after seven seasons in the minor leagues, 30-year old reliever Tanner Banks finally made his big league debut with the Chicago White Sox.

Pitcher Damon Jones represents WASHINGTON STATE on Opening Day. Jones made his big league debut for the Philadelphia Phillies last August.