Troy's Santos signs with MLB's Padres

Published: Jun. 12, 2013 at 1:06 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 4, 2013 at 1:06 AM CDT
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TROY, Ala. – Troy University junior first baseball Trae Santos signed a contract with the San Diego Padres Tuesday afternoon; Santos had one year of eligibility remaining at Troy.

The Barrigada, Guam, native was selected with the 508th overall pick (17th round) in the 2013 MLB First Year Player Draft on Saturday.

Santos is just the third Guam native to hear his name called in the MLB Draft and will be looking to become just the second player from Guam to make a Major League roster (John Hattig, 2006).

Santos was at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Md., with his family when he got the call from the Padres. Santos was with his older brother Tim Jr., who is battling stage three pancreatic cancer.

"Growing up, I always looked up to my brother and he came out to the States to play baseball and pursue his dream to play Major League Baseball," Trae told the Guam Sports Network from the hospital. "We have the same dream and this (draft) is more special because I'm kind of living the dream for him."

Santos ranks third in the NCAA with 18 home runs as the final eight teams head to Omaha for the College World Series. Santos' home run tally is eighth most in season in Troy history and the most in the BBCOR era.

"Trae, like Danny (Collins) and Logan (Pierce), joins the list of players that we as a coaching staff are extremely proud of," Troy head coach Bobby Pierce said.

"He was a guy that was passed over in three drafts before coming into our program and then after one season at Troy he signs a professional contract. We are proud of the fact that we take players with raw talent and develop them into guys who go on to play professional baseball.

"Trae came into our program as a talented, but raw, power-hitting first baseman," Pierce said. "He worked very hard in his year in our program to become a better overall player. His work ethic and our coaching staff were able to merge those things together and the result was a tremendous season for our team and the opportunity for Trae to pursue his dream."

He was named to the Tallahassee Regional All-Tournament Team after batting .455 (5-for-11) with a pair of home runs and four RBIs in Troy's four games.

"Even though I was only at Troy for one season, it is easy to see why everyone thinks it is a special place," Santos said. "This year was a remarkable experience as we had such a close group of players and a coaching staff that truly cares about their players and their development on and off the field. I am so thankful to Coach Pierce, Coach (Mark) Smartt, Coach (Brad) Phillips and Coach (CJ) Wamsley for the opportunity to be a Troy Trojan."

Santos drove in a team-leading 70 RBIs, which ranks as the sixth most in the NCAA this season and the third most in a season in Troy history. Santos is the first Trojan since Tom King (eighth round) to be selected by the Padres since 2006.

"Coming off his two years in junior college, where he hit 11 home runs in two seasons, we were not expecting the huge power numbers," Pierce said. "However, once we got him on campus and began to work with him we saw that type of potential in his game."