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Pair of former Alaska Goldpanners selected in 2021 MLB Draft

Published: Jul. 12, 2021 at 7:50 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Alaska Goldpanners and Major League Baseball have strong roots, dating back to when former Panner Rick Monday was selected first overall in the 1965 MLB draft to the Kansas City Athletics. That selection was just the first of 1,189 players that have donned the Goldpanner uniform to be drafted to the big leagues.

Rounding out the list Monday was a pair of players who recently spent a summer in Fairbanks at Growden Memorial Park.

2018 infielder Brett Harris was selected in the 7th round, 218th overall, in the 2021 MLB Draft to the Oakland A’s out of the University of Gonzaga. The 6′3 third baseman led the Goldpanners in RBI’s (48), doubles (8) triples (6) and was second on the team in batting average (.314), runs scored (40), home runs (3) and walks (26), while collecting 44 hits during his summer with the Goldpanners.

It was his most recent season with Gonzaga that put Harris on scout’s radars, leading the team in hits, (70), batting average (.355) on-base plus slugging (1.027) runs scored (52), doubles (17), home runs (6, T-1st), RBI’s (43), total bases (107), slugging percentage (.543%) and on-base percentage (.484) during the 2021 campaign.

From the 2017 roster, righthanded pitcher Michael Hobbs was drafted in the 10th round, 312th overall, the defending World Series Champion Los Angeles Dodgers. During his summer in Fairbanks, Hobbs appeared in 11 games, striking out 48 batters in 39.2 innings. As a senior at Saint Mary’s College, Hobbs allowed just two runs in 25 innings for an ERA of 0.72. With 25 saves, he concluded his stint at SMC with the most in program history.

“He is the rare mix of a professional worker and genuinely good teammate,” his head coach Greg Moore said in a press release. “Everyone one of his coaches and teammates were fist pumping when Michael was taken by the Dodgers.”

Alex Vesia, Hobbs’ Goldpanner teammate in 2017, became the 209th former Panner to appear an MLB game when he made his big league debut in 2020 for the Miami Marlins. Now Harris and Hobbs look to join the elite club. The MLB Draft resumes Tuesday.

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