Local baseball fans, take note. You’ve got a top of the class baseball program right here in Prescott, Arizona at Yavapai College. The players you watch on the Roughrider fields today, may be in the big leagues sooner than you think.
The number of all-time professional baseball players from Yavapai College is 121. Ken Giles is on that list, and now he’s headed to the World Series, as one of the top relief pitchers in the game.
Ken Giles, 27, had a solid 2017 season with the Astros, playing in 63 games, with a 2.30 ERA, 35 saves, and 83 strikeouts. Glies' postseason stats have been a bit shakier - an ERA of 7.50- the Astros' closer still had 2 saves and 7 strikeouts in 5 games.
Look on Giles’ stat page for the Astros, and you’ll see only one college listed: Yavapai College. That’s because he was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 7th round of the 2011 Major League Baseball (MLB) Draft, which is when he signed with the club.
Giles’ could have signed with the Florida Marlins (now the Miami Marlins) in the 2009 MLB Draft - he was drafted as an outfielder in the 44th round out of Rio Grande High School in Albuquerque, NM - but he chose to attend Yavapai College instead.
That may have been one of the best decisions he ever made. You see, it was during his time in the Yavapai College Roughrider’s program that Giles discovered the rocket ball he’d been throwing from the outfield to get runners out might be something special. As a Roughrider, Giles began pitching regularly and realized his talent on the mound. A talent that includes a fastball clocked at over 100 MPH.
According to a story written for the Phillies by Steven Jacobson, Giles explained, "I was actually an outfielder for most of my high school career," Giles said. "I pitched here and there as a reliever -- I never really started. I was mostly a center fielder until I got to college, where they wanted me to pitch."
After working his way through the minor leagues, Giles was promoted to the Phillies on June 7, 2014 and never looked back. On December 12, 2015, the Phillies traded Giles along with teammate Jonathan Arauz to the Houston Astros in exchange for five other players.
Now, he and his Astros team are headed to the 2017 World Series.
Giles has nothing but praise for Yavapai College. "It's a great community to go to if you want to just focus on baseball, and kind of relax and not be too stressed," said Giles, adding that it's a great alternative for players like himself who don't want to attend larger colleges. "Overall, it's just a great program. The coaches are great, and they're all very knowledgeable."
World Series Schedule:
Game 1: Tuesday, October 24, Astros @ Dodgers 5:09 PM
Game 2: Wednesday, October 25, Astros @ Dodgers, 5:09 PM
Game 3: Friday, October 27, Dodgers @ Astros, 5:09 PM
Game 4: Saturday, October 28, Dodgers @ Astros, 5:09 PM
Game 5: Sunday, October 29, Dodgers @ Astros, 5:16 PM*
Game 6: Tuesday, October 31, Astros @ Dodgers, 5:09 PM*
Game 7: Wednesday, November 1, Astros @ Dodgers, 5:10 PM*
All games to be televised on FOX.
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