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PADRES DRAFT TRAE SANTOS

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By Patrick Lujan

Barrigada's Trae Santos was just drafted by the San Diego Padres. (courtesy photo)

Barrigada’s Trae Santos was just drafted by the San Diego Padres. (courtesy photo)

Guam’s Trae Santos was just drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 17th round of the Major League Baseball Draft on Saturday, joining a short list of Guam players to become professional baseball players. He was the 508th player selected overall.

The Padres will fly Santos out to their Phoenix, Ariz. spring training facility where he will sign his first professional contract.

From there, he will be assigned with the team’s rookie affiliate in Eugene, Ore. and play for the Eugene Emeralds.

“I had a pretty good feeling I was going to get drafted,” said Santos, who’s been spending recent days with his family at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland where his older brother Tim. Jr. is battling stage three pancreatic cancer. “I thought I was going to get drafted a lot earlier, but I can’t complain. I’m just glad that God gave me the ability to play this game.”

Coming off his junior season at Troy University where he played first base and designated hitter, Santos joins the short list of Guam players who were signed: Keith Hattig by the California Angels (1994) and JR Hattig by the Boston Red Sox (1998). JR Hattig is the only one from Guam so far to make it to a major league roster with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2006.

2005 Little League World SeriesLLBBWS05_90px

Shon Muna was Santos’ manager during Guam’s incredible run in the 2005 Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa. There, Santos was a huge part in Guam’s success going all the way to the international semifinals. Thea team was featured in ESPN’s live coverage and stole the hearts of many Guam fans.

“That’s part of my goals in coaching (to see Guam players get drafted),” Muna said. “And I see many others that have capabilities too, but of course, Trae.”

Muna said that Santos stood out among the other players because “baseball was first (with Trae). He really has the love of the game.”

Santos said the experience in the Little League World Series opened his eyes to the possibilities.

“It gave me a really good confidence boost,” the 20-year-old from Barrigada said. “I always knew I was a pretty good player back home, but when we did it in the states, it made me realize that players from Guam can leave the island and be successful at this game.”

Guam 6, Moscow 2 (Trae Santos 13 Ks)

Guam 5, Canada 0

Guam 5, Mexico 3 (Trae Santos 9 Ks)

Curacao 16, Guam 1

Bittersweet for the Santos Family

Earlier this year, Trae’s older brother Tim, Jr. was suddenly diagnosed with Jaundice and stage three pancreatic cancer while on deployment with the Army.

It’s been a trying time for the Santos family, coping with the sudden situation.

Trae Santos (19), a junior at Troy Uniniversity, was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 17th round on June 8, 2013. (courtesy photo)

Trae Santos (19), a junior at Troy Uniniversity, was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 17th round on June 8, 2013. (courtesy photo)

“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 said from the hospital. “We have the same dream and this (draft) is more special because I’m kind of living the dream for him.

“He’s been there for me, too, because he’s been a contributor to my success. I just feel it‘s his experience as well.”

If you would like to help the Santos family, please do so by clicking on to ‘Prayers & Support for TJ’.

NOTES: A 6-foot-1, 235-pound junior, Santos gained attention right way with his strength at the plate in the Trojans’ fall session. Santos provided the most raw power in the lineup…according to al.com, he batted .300 but gained a reputation for the long ball, hitting 18 home runs…according to MLB. com, there were a total of 30 rounds of the draft totalling 1216 players.

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Sports legend Joe Taitano used to run to school at JFK from his Yigo home and back. He continued this routine up to 1979 when he’d run from home to GW gym and back to practice for the South Pacific Games with the national basketball team. Guam went on to win its second straight SPG gold medal.

 

 

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