GAME DATE: June 10, 2019
The Chicago Pit Bulls have selected Arizona State’s 21-year-old power bat John Rambo first overall in the 2019 Bull League Draft. The Sun Devils left fielder, who was named NCAA College Player of the Year, batted .419 and slugged 34 home runs in his second year of college baseball.
Rambo’s numbers were solid, and he was high on the list for every Bull League team. It would have been a surprise had the struggling Pit Bulls not selected him. He led the NCAA in home runs, RBIs, OPS, and WAR, completely dominating the college circuit.
The Pit Bulls, who flamed out spectacularly to a 30-70 (.300) 5th place finish in the LL West last season, batted just .230 as a team in 2018 and was 7th in home runs. Their 3.6 runs per game was matched as worst in the LL by Toronto, who at least had decent enough pitching to avoid a total rout in the team stat categories.
Rambo is expected to fetch nearly $4 million as a signing bonus, and adding him to the organization should put 4th ranked Chicago’s minor league system up to either the #1 or #2 slot. Should he develop as anticipated, he will be one of the most dominating power hitters in the Bull League for years to come.
Son of Bull League Alumni, First Woman Pro Ballplayer Feature in 1st Round
The remainder of the first round was chock full of talent, including Nick Yagaslov, son of Bull League alumni Yuri Yagaslov, the first Russian to play in the league, and Allison Stokke, a part-time fitness and Instagram model, track and field athlete, and college pitcher.
Yagaslov was selected 4th overall by the Toronto Nomads who missed out on a first round pick last season. Nick patrolled the hot corner for the NCAA’s Notre Dame Fighting Irish, displaying incredible speed and athleticism, and a solid eye at the plate. He batted .314, and knocked 16 homers, and was named Final Four MVP and took home a Platinum Stick for 3B.
The Nomads are desperate to fill the left side of the infield, though Yagaslov may still be 2-3 seasons away from being ready to take on the role.
Jamaican phenom Alex ‘Ting’ Martins went 3rd overall to the Arizona Cowboys. The Port Royal College 2B was a high school all-star in his sophomore year, finished 3rd in MVP voting in his junior year, and was the top hitter at his position, and took home a high school championship ring in as a senior. In his 3 high school seasons, Martins average was .373. He drew 77 walks and stole 84 bases, demonstrating incredible speed and patience.
Another big story is the first female to enter the Bull League, track and field star Allison Stokke. The instagram beauty pitched 21.2 innings of relief for Rocky Mountain U as an 18 year old in 2017. She was undrafted last year, and returned to school but did not play in 2018 or 2019, but spent much of those years in track and field and working out.
Scouts have remarked on her great stuff, despite her velo only reaching 92mph. The 5’7″, 115-lb right-hander has pinpoint control and an elite-level changeup.
The Pittsburgh Iron Pigs (formerly the Rimouski Fighting Moose) leveraged their three supplemental picks to invest in pitchers. Essex Tech’s Alex Burciaga, picked 19th overall, is out with a torn labrum, but could eventually find himself one of the top minor league starters in a couple of seasons, though whether he will be ready to take on that role at the major level remains to be explored.
In all, 25 players were selected in the first round, including 9 supplemental round picks. A total of 406 college and high school players will enter the Bull League this year, though only a small percentage can expect to one day play on a major-level Bull League field.