With the NBA and NHL playoffs starting to wind down, and the NFL and college football seasons still a couple months away from kicking off, now is a good time to turn our attention to the baseball diamond. While Ohio State isn’t a baseball powerhouse, they have been known to put some players in the majors. Nearly 60 Buckeyes have played big league baseball, with some popular names being Nick Swisher, Frank Howard, and Dave Burba.
As the MLB season is moving towards the All-Star break, what better time to update how all the former Buckeyes currently playing professional baseball are doing.
Drew Rucinski - NC Dinos
You probably thought this was all going to be players in the MLB and MiLB. Right now the most successful former Buckeye is Drew Rucinski. Last year Rucinski was 19-5 for the NC Dinos of the Korean Baseball Organization. The former MLB pitcher was a key part of the Dinos first-ever championship season.
It’s obvious the Dinos have had a bit of a championship hangover, as they currently sit just three games over .500. The same can’t be said about Rucinski, who is 7-4 with a 3.08 ERA and 85 strikeouts in 84.2 innings pitched. The KBO season isn’t even halfway finished yet, which gives Rucinski and the Dinos plenty of time to catch fire.
Travis Lakins - Baltimore Orioles
Currently there is just one Buckeye playing in the majors. Travis Lakins of Franklin, Ohio was a sixth round pick of the Boston Red Sox in the 2015 MLB Draft. Lakins played for the Red Sox in 2019 before being designated for assignment on January 17th, 2020 and eventually ending up with the Baltimore Orioles a couple weeks later.
Last year was a bit of a breakout season for Lakins in the Baltimore bullpen, as the righty appeared in 22 games, posting a 3-2 record with a 2.81 ERA. Lakins hasn’t been able to channel the success he found last year, as he is just 1-4 with a 5.81 ERA in 23 appearances this year. Even though he is struggling, expect to see Lakins continue to get work in the Baltimore bullpen during the rebuilding project of the Orioles.
Ronnie Dawson - Houston Astros
The latest Buckeye to make his major league debut was Ronnie Dawson. The outfielder was called up by the Houston Astros on April 14th and recorded his first career hit that day against Alex Lange of the Detroit Tigers. The Licking Heights product played in three games before being sent back to the minors.
Dawson is the 25th ranked prospect in the Houston organization, but he has been in a bit of a funk this year while playing with the Sugar Land Skeeters. In 28 games, Dawson is hitting just .255 with two home runs and 11 RBIs. At least Dawson did show some signs of life in his last game on June 17th, scoring two runs and driving in two runs against El Paso.
Dillon Dingler - Detroit Tigers
The last Ohio State to be drafted was Dillon Dingler, who the Detroit Tigers took in the second round of the 2020 MLB Draft. While COVID-19 kept Dingler off the field last season, the former Buckeye didn’t take long to heat up this season.
After hitting .287 with eight home runs and 24 RBIs in 32 games with the West Michigan Whitecaps, Dingler was recently promoted to the Erie Seawolves, who are Detroit’s AA affiliate. So far Dingler has been even better at his second stop in the minors, hitting .379 in eight games.
While Detroit probably wants to bring Dingler along slowly, if the catcher keeps playing this way, it’ll be hard to keep him from moving on to Toledo before the season ends. The future is bright for Dingler, who is the fourth-ranked prospect in Detroit’s farm season. With the Tigers in the midst of a rebuild, expect to eventually see Dingler takeover behind the plate for Detroit.
Andrew Magno - Detroit Tigers
Prior to Dingler being drafted, the last Ohio State player to be taken in the MLB Draft was Andrew Magno, who was also drafted by the Detroit Tigers. Magno was taken in the 15th round of the 2019 draft after registering 14 saves for Ohio State in 31 games in 2019.
While his career is still young, Magno has struggled with control so far during his time in the Tigers’ farm system. In 30 combined innings in 2019 and 2021, Magno has walked 29 batters, and this year he has more walks than strikeouts, as he has given free passes to 12 batters, while whiffing just 11.
Ryan Feltner - Colorado Rockies
Feltner’s numbers at Ohio State weren’t anything to write home about, but the Colorado Rockies saw potential in the right-handed pitcher. Their vision has paid off after drafting Feltner in the fourth round of the 2018 MLB Draft. Currently, Feltner is the 22nd ranked player in Colorado’s minor league system.
After starting the season by going 3-1 with a 2.17 ERA in seven games with Spokane, Feltner was promoted and sent across the country to play with the Hartford Yard Goats of the AA Eastern League. Feltner hasn’t slowed down in two starts with Hartford, earning a win and posting a 0.86 ERA in 10.2 innings. So far in 55.2 innings pitched this year, Feltner has struck out 60 batters.
Jacob Bosiokovic - Colorado Rockies
Another former Buckeye that was drafted by Colorado was Jacob Bosiokovic, who was selected by the Rockies in the 19th round of the 2016 MLB Draft. Bosiokovic has struggled to find his footing in the minors so far, starting his career as a first baseman and outfielder before switching to the mound in 2019.
From 2016-19, Bosiokovic registered 742 at-bats in 239 games, but hit just 23 home runs and drove in 98 runs. Each year Bosiokovic’s average dropped, until it bottomed out at .159 before switching to pitching. The Delaware native was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2019 Rule 5 Draft. Bosiokovic is 2-3 with a 5.81 ERA with two saves in 15 games for the Springfield Cardinals, St. Louis’ AA affiliate.
Connor Curlis - Cincinnati Reds
Cincinnati Reds fans have to be hoping to see some good things on the mound from Connor Curlis. The left-hander from Findlay was selected in the 24th round of the 2018 MLB Draft by the Reds, and has been solid so far in his minor league career.
Curlis had a great 2019, posting a 5-6 record between stops in Dayton and Dayton. In 17 games, which included 13 starts, Curlis posted a 3.16 ERA and struck out 72 batters in 64 innings, and followed that up with a couple starts in Daytona. 2021 hasn’t been quite so kind for Curlis, as he is currently 2-3 with a 5.25 ERA in eight games for AA Chattanooga.
Tanner Tully - Cleveland Indians
The team in northeast Ohio also has a former Buckeye in their farm system. Cleveland selected Tanner Tully in the 28th round of the 2016 draft, and since then Tully has thrown a lot of innings in the minors. In 2017, Tully played at four different levels in Cleveland’s farm system. 2018 saw Tully strictly with Lynchburg, Cleveland’s AA affiliate, and 2019 and 2021 has seen Tully split time in Akron and Columbus.
While Tully has been an innings eater, it’s hard to see him being much of an impact pitcher for the Indians. The left-hander has seen his ERA rise over the last two years, and his WHIP is also trending the wrong way. It is still a great story that the Buckeye is playing baseball in Columbus, and hopefully he can see some time in the big leagues.
Shea Murray - Pittsburgh Pirates
The 18th round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2017 MLB Draft has been a reliable reliever for teams in the Pirates’ organization. In 14 games for Altoona this year, Murray has three saves and struck out 24 batters in 18.1 innings. If Murray become a little more reliable with his control, the Pirates will definitely have to think about elevating him to AAA.
Dominic Canzone - Arizona Diamondbacks
Out west, Dominic Canzone is still looking to find his groove. After the eighth round pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2019 MLB Draft started his career by hitting .299 in 25 games at Mizzoula of the Rookie League, Canzone has just five homers and 23 RBIs in 43 games a A-level Hillsboro. Canzone is still just 23 years old, so there is time for him to put things together.