Mike Alonso Left a Major League Legacy at Upland
Mike Alonso (left) oversaw plenty of big league talent during his time at Upland. (Jennifer Cappuccio Maher/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)
Mike Alonso recently wrapped up a 33-year run as the head coach of the Upland (CA) High School baseball program. What do you think the odds are an MLB manager could ever have that long a run with one team these days? You’ll probably need the Bwin app to figure that one out.
As a testament to his brilliant career, let’s look at some of the players that came through Alonso’s system during his tenure:
- Tim Albert, OF: After Upland, Albert attended the University of Hawaii and was then selected by the Brewers in the 18th round of the 1991 draft. He played 141 games in Milwaukee’s system, topping out at Class-A.
- Brad Barragar, RHP: Barrager was taken in the eighth round by Texas in 2005, but opted to attend Golden West College, Cal State Fullerton and Cal State Northridge. Injuries derailed his career.
- Ethan Chapman, OF: Chapman attended Cal State San Bernadino and was then drafted in the 30th round in 2012 by KC. He spent parts of four seasons in the Royal organization before winding up in the Philadelphia system, where he briefly reached Triple-A. All told, Chapman slashed .256/.336/.316 in 335 minor league games. He was released last year and has been playing Indy baseball since (but hey, he can still pick it, as you can see in the video below).
- Frankie Christian, OF: Christian was drafted out of high school in the 19th round in 2010 by Seattle and wound up spending two seasons in the Mariner organizer, never topping Rookie ball (.186/.255/.216).
- Dave Coggin, RHP: The Phillies took Coggin in the first round (30th overall) in the 1995 draft and he wound up spending parts of three seasons in the bigs, appearing in 60 games (29 starts) and winning 10 times. By 2007, he was in Indy ball, his final season as a pro.
- Gerald Crump, 1B/3B: Taken in the 19th round in 1989 by Toronto, Crump spent 70 games in the Jays’ system, batting .184 and never getting past Rookie ball.
- Jason Davis, RHP: Not to be confused with the Jason Davis that toiled for the Indians a decade ago, this Davis went to Cal Poly and was taken in the 57th round by Oakland in 1989, but never signed.
- Rick Davis, RHP: Davis went to Cal State Dominguez Hills and the was plucked in the seventh round of the 1989 draft by San Diego. He spent five years in the Padres system, recording a 3.44 ERA in 166 games (44 starts). Davis reached Triple-A, but never played in the Show.
- Jim Filippi, RHP: Filippi attended Florida International University before being nabbed in the 12th round of the 1984 draft by the ChiSox. He spent parts of three seasons in the White Sox system and then a partial campaign with San Diego. Filippi topped out at Double-A, pitching 75 games — mostly as a starter — and going 24-20 with a 3.91 ERA.
- Scott Frazier, RHP: Frazier went to Pepperdine University before the Cubs took him in the sixth round in 2013. He’s now in his fourth season in the Cub system, but he’s struggled to stay healthy, pitch effectively and advance. Frazier began the season at Class-A, but has since been demoted to Low-A.
- Tim Helton, C: Helton was drafted by the Angels in the 28th round in 2010, but opted to attend Chaffey College instead.
- Terry Jones, 3B: The Phillies drafted Jones out of high school in 2001 in the fourth round. He spent four years in the system, slashing .229/.301/.366 in 226 games, topping out at High-A.
- Jeff Liefer, 1B/OF: Liefer excelled at Long Beach State, prompting the Pale Hose to take him in the first round (25th overall) in 1995. He wound up spending seven seasons in the majors, hitting .230 in 779 at-bats, before heading to Japan for two years. Liefer came back to North America in 2008 and finished his career with a partial season in Triple-A.
- Chad Moeller, C: Moeller went to USC and was then drafted by Minnesota in the seventh round in 1996. Playing for seven different teams, he spent 11 years in the bigs, batting .226 with 29 homers in 501 games.
- Mike Paulk, 1B: Paulk attended Cal State Northridge before getting plucked in the 13th round of the 2005 draft by Colorado. He spent seven seasons in the Rockies organization, recording a 786 OPS over 2,709 at-bats and topping out at Triple-A.
- Tommy Pincin, C: Pincin was selected in the 26th round of the 2014 draft by the Mets, but opted to attend Riverside Community College, where he’s spent the past two years.
- Chris Powell, RHP: Powell went to Cal Poly Pomona, and was taken in the 39th round by the Dodgers last year. Now in his second season in the Dodger organization, he had advanced to High-A, but is currently on the DL back in Class-A, where he’s holding opponents to a .220 BA pitching mostly out of the bullpen (14 of his 16 games are as a reliever).
- Maurice Powell, RHP: Powell was drafted in the 46th round in 1999 by Minnesota, and spent one season at Rookie ball, going 1-1 with a 4.61 ERA in 11 relief appearances.
- Scott Rivette, RHP: Rivette attended Citrus College and then Long Beach State before the A’s selected him in the 11th round in 1995. He spent six seasons in the Oakland, Toronto and Seattle systems, pitching 179 games (56 starts), topping out at Triple-A.
- Daniel Robertson, SS: Robertson, who we own on in our Keeper League, was a first round pick by Oakland (34th overall) in 2012. He spent three seasons in the A’s system before getting traded to Tampa Bay, where he’s been the last two years. Now at Triple-A, Robertson owns a 775 OPS with 36 career homers in 454 games over five seasons. He’s struggling to adjust to Triple-A pitching so doesn’t look quite ready for his first look in the Show.
- Doug Robertson, RHP: Robertson went to Cal State Fullerton before the Giants grabbed him in the third round in 1985. He pitched for four organizations over a seven year pro career, topping out at Triple-A. All told, he went 31-40 in 265 games (40 starts).
- Shawn Sanderfer, C: Sanderfer went to Riverside Community College before getting plucked by Oakland in the 29th round in 1992. He spent one season in the A’s system (639 OPS in 25 games) before resurfacing three years later in Indy ball.
- Tom Scaletta, SS/3B: Scaletta went to Cal Poly Pomona and was then pegged by the Twins in the 12th round in 1985. He spent one season at Class-A for the Minnesota organization, recording an OPS of 556 in 54 games.
- Bob Sheridan, RHP: San Diego took Sheridan in the third round in 1987, but he was done after just five starts at Low-A, failing to earn a pro win.
- Chris Sotro, RHP: Sotro attended Cal Poly Pomona before Houston called his name in the 28th round in 2004. He spent one year at Rookie Ball in the Astro system, recording a 4.35 ERA over 20 2/3 IP, all out the bullpen.
- Sean Tracey, RHP: Tracey went to UC-Irvine and Citrus College before the White Sox drafted him in the eighth round in 2002. In 2006, he saw his only big league action, giving up four hits and five walks in seven games and eight innings. By 2009, Tracey had moved to Indy ball, pitching in that arena until last year.
- Steve Vondran, 3B: Vondran went to Fresno State University and was then plucked in the 13th round by Cincinnati in 1989. He spent three years in the Reds organization, topping out at Class-A. In 225 pro games, Vondran hit five homers, stole four bases and recorded a 655 OPS.
- Ryan Webb, OF: Webb attended Long Beach State, Citrus College and Chico State before the Angels grabbed him in the 42nd round in 2001. He spent two years in the Angels system, recording a 670 OPS before winding up playing Indy ball for three years.
- Julian Williams, OF: Williams played with Long Beach City College before St. Louis selected him in the 35th round in 2002. He wound up playing three years in the Phillies organization, recording a 696 OPS over 956 at-bats. Williams’ run with the Phils was interrupted by a stint in Indy ball in 2006, and then he wrapped up his career with another season of Indy play in 2008.
- Michael Wing, 3B: The Angels picked Wing in the 26th round in 2007 and he spent six seasons in the Angels and Padres organizations. He recorded a 784 OPS, topping out at Double-A. Wing finished his career playing Indy ball for two years.
- Richard Wrobel, OF: Wrobel, taken in the 50th round by Seattle in 1990, played college ball at Fresno State, Chaffey College and Point Loma Nazarene University, but never went pro.
Of course, the most famous Upland alumni — and one that predates even Alonso’s tenure, is Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers, who was one of the few dependable stoppers the Brewers ever had during his tenure in Beer City, where he spent his final four seasons.
Now it’s your turn. In the comments below, share with us any Alonso or Upland Alumni stories.
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