Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to footer

Quartet of Mustangs Selected on Final Day of 2015 Draft

Quartet of Mustangs Selected on Final Day of 2015 Draft

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Cal Poly junior shortstop Peter Van Gansen, the 2015 Big West Conference Defensive Player of the Year, was the first of four Mustangs selected on the final day of Major League Baseball's 2015 First-Year Player Draft at the MLB Network studios in Secaucus, N.J.

Van Gansen (pictured at right) was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 12th round (357th overall selection) on Wednesday.

Also chosen on the third day of the 40-round draft were junior right-handed pitcher Casey Bloomquist (17th round, 503rd overall selection, by the Chicago Cubs). senior outfielder Zack Zehner (18th round, 543rd overall selection, by the New York Yankees) and senior right-hander Danny Zandona (21st round, 621st overall selection, Boston Red Sox).

In addition, RJ Peace, a right-handed pitcher from Serrano High School, and Alex McKenna, an outfielder from Alemany High School, both of whom in November signed a National Letter of Intent to play at Cal Poly next fall, became the second and third Mustang recruits to be drafted.

Van Gansen (5-9, 170, San Fernando, CA/Alemany HS), an All-Big West first-team selection, committed just four errors in 240 fielding chances, the lowest number of errors for a shortstop in the Big West this season, while batting .314 with 10 doubles, three triples, a pair of three-run home runs and 28 RBI.

Named to the Brooks Wallace Award watch list as the nation's top Division I shortstop earlier this season, Van Gansen produced hitting streaks of eight and 11 games, hit .340 against right-handed pitchers, reached base 20 times in 46 opportunities as the leadoff hitter (43.5 percent) and played every inning of every game at shortstop this season.

Van Gansen, who scored a Big West-leading 43 runs this season, earned the Cal Poly baseball team's Ozzie Smith Most Valuable Player Award for 2015 and also was named the John Orton Gold Glove Award winner for the third straight year.

Bloomquist (6-3, 185, Bakersfield, CA/Bakersfield Christian HS) won his final eight decisions as the Mustangs' Friday night starter after an 0-2 start, including a 6-0 mark in Big West games, and Cal Poly was 10-2 in his last 12 starts of the season. Bloomquist is 26-6 in three seasons with the Mustangs, No. 4 all-time on Cal Poly's career wins list, while his 2.79 career ERA ranks No. 9.

Bloomquist matched his career high with 10 strikeouts against UC Riverside on May 15 and went the distance with a four-hitter in an 8-1 win at Oregon State on March 27 en route to All-Big West second-team honors.

A year ago, Bloomquist compiled a 12-2 record, one victory shy of the school mark for wins in a season, and sported a 1.56 ERA, a school Division I record, with 74 strikeouts in 98 innings. He notched his first complete game with a 3-0 shutout (three hits, eight strikeouts) against Cal State Fullerton and compiled a career-high 10 strikeouts against both Wagner and UC Santa Barbara.

Zehner (6-4, 215, San Diego, CA/Torrey Pines HS/Santa Barbara CC) was Cal Poly's leader in home runs with nine and RBI with 43. He hit .304 for the season after hitting safely in 15 of 16 games late in the year, including a 12-game hitting streak. A first-team All-Big West selection and winner of the Mustangs' Dave Oliver Hustle Award, Zehner went 25-for-65 (.385) during the late-season run to lift his average 48 points.

Zehner was drafted in the seventh round of the 2014 draft by the Toronto Blue Jays after hitting .316 with seven doubles, three triples and a trio of home runs, but chose to return to Cal Poly for his senior season. Zehner was an All-Big West honorable mention as a junior after transferring from Santa Barbara City College, where he hit .358 as a sophomore.

Zandona earned the team's Jim Newkirk Fireman's Award as he compiled seven saves with 63 strikeouts in 39 2/3 innings. The Santa Barbara High School graduate was 10-6 with eight saves in his Mustang career, striking out 127 batters in 117 2/3 innings.

Peace was taken in the 13th round (386th overall selection) by the Miami Marlins while McKenna was chosen by the Minnesota Twins in the 38th round (1,130th overall selection).

Peace compiled an 8-3 record and 0.24 ERA with two saves this spring, leading Serrano to a share of the Mojave River League title as well as the CIF-Southern Section Division 4 championship. He pitched eight complete games, including six shutouts, and struck out 97 batters in 87 1/3 innings. He also was a career .324 hitter, for the Diamondbacks including a .352 mark as a senior.

McKenna hit .402 for Alemany, the same high school from which Van Gansen graduated three years ago. Alemany was 18-11 this spring, finishing in a tie for second in the Mission League. McKenna produced seven doubles, two triples and three home runs, knocked in 15 runs and stole eight of 11 bases. He hit .315 as a junior with 21 RBI and another eight steals.

Cal Poly's top draftee this year was junior second baseman Mark Mathias, chosen in the third round Tuesday by the Cleveland Indians. First baseman/designated hitter Brian Mundell was selected by the Colorado Rockies in the seventh round while shortstop Luke Williams of Dana Hills High School, who like Peace signed an NLI in November, was taken in the third round, the 83rd overall pick, by the Philadelphia Phillies.

A total of 35 Mustangs have been drafted in the first 10 rounds since the first MLB Draft in 1965, including 26 players since Larry Lee took over as head coach of the program in 2003.

Catcher John Orton is Cal Poly's highest draft pick ever, chosen by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim as the 25th overall selection in the first round in 1987. Outfielder Mitch Haniger was the 38th overall pick by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2012 and, last year, southpaw Matt Imhof, the sixth selection in the second round, 47th overall, by the Philadelphia Phillies, moved past Garrett Olson, another left-hander who was selected 48th overall by the Baltimore Orioles in 2005.

Both Haniger and Olson were compensatory picks between the first and second rounds. Cal Poly's only other second-round selection besides Imhof is outfielder Grant Desme, taken by the Oakland Athletics as the 74th overall selection in 2005.

Cal Poly finished the 2015 season 27-27 overall, overcoming a 1-6 start by winning 17 of its last 26 games and hitting .303 over its last 23 contests. The Mustangs claimed fourth place in the Big West at 14-10, finishing in the upper half of the standings for the 12th time in the last 14 seasons.

Cal Poly has posted 13 non-losing seasons since 2000, won 13 of its last 15 home games this year and claimed six of 14 weekend series (two sweeps) in addition to splitting four games with Sacramento State.

A total of 36 players from the nine Big West schools were drafted, led by pitcher Dillon Tate of UC Santa Barbara, the fourth overall selection by the Texas Rangers. Pitcher Thomas Eshelman of Cal State Fullerton went in the second round to the Houston Astros.

Ten Gauchos were selected, followed by Cal Poly and Cal State Fullerton, each with six. UC Irvine, UC Davis and Hawai'i each had three players drafted, CSUN and Long Beach State two and UC Riverside one.

Rounds one and two of the draft were held Monday, with rounds three through 10 completed Tuesday and the final 30 rounds Wednesday. A total of 1,215 players were drafted this year.