From Paul Goldschmidt to Bobby Witt Jr. — Texas athletes to watch in Major League Baseball

Trent Grisham played for the San Antonio Missions for part of the 2019 season before being called up by the Milwaukee Brewers. - photo by Joe Alexander

San Diego Padres outfielder Trent Grisham has emerged as one of baseball’s brightest young stars among MLB players with Texas roots. Grisham played in high school at North Richland Hills in the DFW MetroPlex. He later played Triple-A pro ball in 2019 with the San Antonio Missions. – File photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
A special report for The JB Replay

Say hey, fellow Texans. Belly up to the bar. With a new major league season upon us, hold up your glass, and we will fill it today with a concoction of baseball-related brew. Hopefully it will satisfy some of your thirst for up-to-date storylines on those who learned how to play the game in the Lone Star State.

Here it is:

Texans in Major League Baseball

On the eve of opening day, 2022

After an examination of spring training reports available at, we’ve compiled a list of players from Texas-based high schools or colleges – or both — who are expected to be on opening-day rosters (inclusive of players who may be on the injured list).

You may have seen some of this information in this space a year ago. But, believe me, plenty has changed since then.

For instance, former Colleyville Heritage High School star Bobby Witt, Jr., is expected to make his MLB debut this season with the Kansas City Royals. Former Texas A&M standout A.J. Minter will pursue another ring after winning the World Series last fall with the Atlanta Braves.

Trevor Story (from Irving HS) has moved from the Rockies to play second base for the Red Sox. Pitcher Noah Syndergaard (Mansfield Legacy) from the Mets to the Angels. Catcher Jose Trevino (Corpus Christi St. John Paul II) from the Rangers to (gulp) the Yankees.

So, here it is, a graphic story that can be poured into a chilled mug, right to the top, and served with a side of nachos. Enjoy.

(Names listed, in alphabetical order)

Anthony Banda/LHP/Pittsburgh Pirates/Corpus Christi/Sinton HS/San Jacinto College — Expected to pitch out of the Pirates’ bullpen in what will be his sixth season in the majors. Drafted in the 10th round by the Brewers in 2012. Since 2017 has played in the majors for the Diamondbacks, the Rays, the Mets and the Pirates. He was claimed off waivers by the Pirates last summer.

Brandon Belt/INF/San Francisco Giants/Nacogdoches/Lufkin HS/University of Texas – Veteran first baseman has been hobbled this spring with an ankle injury. Belt is an 11-year pro, a one-time all-star and a career .264 hitter. He hit 29 homers in 97 games last summer.

Cavan Biggio/UTILITY/Toronto Blue Jays/Houston St. Thomas HS/University of Notre Dame – Biggio signed a one-year, $2.1 million contract in March on the heels of a season in which he hit .224. The son of former Astros star Craig Biggio is expected to play second base but also will play first and corner outfield.

JT Chargois/RHP/Tampa Bay Rays/Sulphur, La., HS and Rice University – Chargois is expected to pitch in the Rays’ bullpen. The righthander has pitched four of the last six seasons in the majors, with the Twins, Dodgers, Mariners and the Rays. The Mariners traded him to the Rays last July. He is 10-6 with a 3.73 ERA for his career. Chargois was drafted by the Twins out of Rice in 2012.

Hunter Dozier/DH-UTL/Kansas City Royals/Wichita Falls/Denton HS/Stephen F. Austin University — Eighth overall pick in the 2013 draft is looking for a resurgence after a couple of down seasons, including last summer, which was clouded by a hand injury.

Tyler Duffey/RHP/Minnesota Twins/Houston Bellaire HS/Rice University – Going into his eighth season in the majors, all with the Twins, Duffey is expected to pitch out of the bullpen. He has pitched in 255 games in Minnesota. Duffy is 27-23 with a 4.53 ERA in his career.

Nathan Eovaldi/P/Boston Red Sox/Houston native, attended Alvin HS. An opening-day starter for the Red Sox. An 11th-year veteran with a 61-65 record and a 4.19 ERA. Drafted by the LA Dodgers in 2008 in the 11th round.

Kyle Finnegan/P/Washington Nationals/Houston-area Kingwood HS/Texas State University — Projected to pitch out of the Nationals’ bullpen. Finnegan has been in the major leagues for the last two years, both in Washington, with 93 appearances, 11 saves and a 3.38 earned run average.

Paul Goldschmidt/1B/St. Louis Cardinals/The Woodlands HS/Texas State – An eighth-round draft pick by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2009, Goldschmidt has become one of the best in baseball. In 11 major league seasons, he’s made six All-Star game appearances and has hit .293 with 280 home runs and 927 RBIs.

Randall Grichuk/OF/Colorado Rockies/Lamar Consolidated HS – Grichuk was traded from the Toronto Blue Jays to the Rockies on March 24. The former 2009 first-round draft pick out of Lamar Consolidated is expected to start in center field and bat in the middle of the order.

Trent Grisham/OF/Padres/Burleson/Richland, North Richland Hills HS — Broke into the big leagues in 2019 with the Milwaukee Brewers. Started in the outfield the past two seasons with the San Diego Padres. Selected in the first round, 15th overall, out of high school in 2015 by the Brewers. Played in Triple A for the San Antonio Missions in 2019 before his call up to the majors. Hit for the cycle in his last game before getting the call to the big leagues.

Ke’Bryan Hayes/3B/Pirates/Tomball Concordia Lutheran HS – Hayes is a key player for the Pirates, but a sprained ankle could keep him from starting at third on opening day.

Taylor Hearn/LHP/Texas Rangers/Royse City HS, in Texas; San Jacinto College, Oklahoma Baptist – Hearn’s home of Royce City is 50 miles northeast of Globe Life Field, the home of the Rangers, with whom he has pitched for parts of the past three seasons. Hearn, the son of Clem Hearn, a former professional rodeo star, is 3-2 with a 4.18 earned run average in his career.

Louis Head/RHP/Miami Marlins/Katy Cinco Ranch HS/Texas Tech and Texas State universities — Head pitched in 27 games last year for the Tampa Bay Rays. He was 2-0 with a 2.31 earned run average. Head opened the new season in the bullpen for the Miami Marlins. Head was drafted in the 18th round of the 2012 draft out of Texas State. He had spent the previous two seaons at Texas Tech.

Clayton Kershaw/LHP/Los Angeles Dodgers/Highland Park HS – Veteran left-handed pitcher signed a one-year contract this spring, meaning he will pitch for the Dodgers for a 15th season. Three-time Cy Young Award winner was a free agent and picked between the Texas Rangers and the Dodgers. Stayed with the Dodgers thinking it would give him a better chance to win a World Series.

Corey Kluber/RHP/Tampa Bay Rays/Coppell High School in Texas/Stetson University – Kluber, who will turn 36 on April 10, is expected to be in the Rays’ starting rotation. He pitched in 2009 and 2010 with the Double A San Antonio Missions and has spent the last 11 years in the majors. Kluber claimed Cy Young Awards with Cleveland in 2014 and 2017. After a year with the Yankees, he signed with the Rays on Dec. 1.

Corey Knebel/RHP/Philadelphia Phillies/Georgetown HS/University of Texas – After the relief pitching specialist worked for the LA Dodgers last year, his seventh in the majors, Knebel signed as a free agent with the Phillies, a one-year deal worth a reported $10 million.

Nick Lodolo/Cincinnati Reds/TCU – Lodolo, a left-handed pitcher, was the seventh pick in the 2019 draft. He will make his major league debut this season. Lodolo, who grew up in California before moving Texas to play at TCU, is expected to start for the Reds.

Lucas Luetge/LHP/New York Yankees/Brenham/Bellville HS/Rice University – Luetge, at 35, will pitch out of the Yankees’ bullpen once again. Dispatched from the majors to the minors in 2015, he toiled there for most of seven seasons before getting a break with the Yankees last year. Wearing the pinstripes, he went 4-2 with a 2.74 ERA. His pro career began in 2008 when he was taken in the 21st round by the Brewers out of Rice.

Dustin May/RHP/Los Angeles Dodgers/Justin Northwest HS, in Texas, in the DFW area – May, a hard-throwing, right-hander, is expected to start the season on the injured list. Coming off Tommy John elbow surgery, he isn’t expected to be ready until the All-Star break. He helped the Dodgers to the 2020 World Series title but pitched only five times last year before getting hurt at Milwaukee. He had surgery last May.

A.J. Minter/LHP/Atlanta Braves/Tyler/Brook Hill School in Bullard/Texas A&M – Minter is expected to pitch out of the bullpen for the defending World Series champions. The lefthander has pitched the past five seasons with the Braves. Minter is 11-15 with a 3.71 ERA and 20 saves. He made eight appearances in the 2021 postseason, including three in the World Series.

Corbin Martin/RHP/Arizona Diamondbacks/Hempstead HS/Texas A&M — Martin emerged as a second-round draft pick of the Houston Astros in 2017. He reached the big leagues in 2019 but was traded in July to the Diamondbacks. Martin reached the majors with the Diamondbacks for the first time in 2021.

Max Muncy/INF/Los Angeles Dodgers/Midland native/Keller HS/Baylor University — One of the Dodgers’ best left-handed hitters is moving from IB to 2B to make way for free agent signee Freddie Freeman.

Tyler Naquin/OF/Cincinnati Reds/Klein Collins HS in Spring/Texas A&M – Expected to start in the outfield for the Reds. Naquin is a career .273 hitter over parts of six major league seasons. Spent first five in Cleveland, last year in Cincinnati.

Ryan O’Hearn/UTILITY/Kansas City Royals/Frisco Wakeland HS/Sam Houston State – Expected to play a utility role with the Royals. He’s played in 275 games in the majors over the past four seasons, all in Kansas City.

Brooks Raley/LHP/Rays/San Antonio native/Uvalde HS/Texas A&M — Signed with the Rays for two years and $10 million with an option for a third year. Pitched in the playoffs for the Astros the past few seasons.

Anthony Rendon/INF/Los Angeles Angels/Houston Lamar HS/Rice University – Rendon is looking to kick-start his career going into his third season in Los Angeles. A power-hitting third baseman, he slugged a total of 103 home runs in a four-year stretch from 2016-19 with the Nationals. Since joining the Angels in 2020, he has hit only 15 homers. Last year, Rendon struggled with an assortment of injuries before he was shut down in August with a hip impingement.

Caleb Smith/LHP/Arizona Diamondbacks/Huntsville HS/Sam Houston State – Has played the last five seasons in the majors with the Yankees, the Marlins and the Diamondbacks. The lefty is 19-27 in his career with a 4.63 ERA. Pitched in 45 games for the Diamondbacks last year, mostly in relief. Is expected to pitch out of the pen again in 2022.

Trevor Story/INF/Red Sox/Irving HS – The Red Sox on March 20 signed Story, a free agent, to a six-year, $140-million contract. In six years with the Colorado Rockies, he made two All-Star teams, and he has produced 158 HRs with 450 RBIs. Story is expected to play second base, with Xander Bogaerts remaining at shortstop.

Ross Stripling/RHP/Toronto Blue Jays/Pennsylvania native/Southlake Carroll HS/Texas A&M – Stripling is expected to pitch out of the bullpen after being a starter in 21 of 29 appearances since joining team in the middle of the 2020 season.

Noah Syndergaard/RHP/LA Angels/Mansfield Legacy HS – Syndergaard, a dynamic right-handed pitcher, was drafted 38th overall by the Toronto Blue Jays out of high school. Traded to the Mets in 2012. Made his MLB debut in 2015. All-Star in 2016. Compiled a 47-31 record in New York. Did not pitch in 2020 (after Tommy John surgery) and worked only two innings last summer. Signed for one year and $21 million by the LA Angels in offseason.

Jameson Taillon/RHP/NY Yankees/The Woodlands HS – Right-handed pitcher drafted in the first round, second overall, out of high school in 2010. He has pitched four seasons for the Pittsburgh Pirates and last year with the Yankees. 37-30 with a 3.82 ERA for his career.

Ryan Tepera/RHP/Los Angeles Angels/Brazoswood HS/Blinn College/Sam Houston State – The former 19th-round draft pick broke into the majors in 2015 with the Blue Jays. Has also pitched for the Cubs and the White Sox. The 34-year-old signed a two-year contract with the Angels in March. The righty will pitch out of the bullpen.

Jose Trevino/C/NY Yankees/Corpus Christi St. John Paul II/Oral Roberts – Trevino was traded Saturday from the Rangers to the Yankees for pitchers Albert Abreu and Robert Ahlstrom. He is expected to back up Kyle Higashioka.

Michael Wacha/RHP/Boston Red Sox/Iowa City native, Texarkana HS, Texas A&M University – Historic Fenway Park will be home this season for Wacha, who is in his 10th year in the majors. He’s been solid in his career, 63-48 with a 4.14 ERA. After seven years in St. Louis, he moved in 2020 to the New York Mets and in 2021 to the Tampa Bay Rays. Last year with the Rays, Wacha was 3-5 with a 5.05 ERA. He is on a one-year contract for a reported $7 million.

Bobby Witt Jr./INF/Kansas City Royals/Fort Worth-area Colleyville Heritage HS — Witt Jr. is rated as the No. 1 prospect in baseball. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 draft (behind Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman) is expected to play third base, next to shortstop Adalberto Mondesi. The son of former Texas Rangers pitcher Bobby Witt Sr. is known for his home-run power.

Editor’s note

In the interest of transparency, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned every player from Texas that is considered as a lock to make a roster. I don’t know with 100 percent confidence that the players listed above will make rosters, though I’d say my degree of certainty is pretty high. This is an aggregated collection of information. A mass projection, if you will. I’ll update if anything changes drastically or if I’ve left anyone out.

Emergence of Tatis shines light on Missions’ talent level

As a casualty of the coronavirus pandemic, the San Antonio Missions didn’t play a single game at Wolff Stadium this summer. Their season was canceled. But that doesn’t mean that they have stopped making headlines.

Fernando Tatis, Jr., who started at shortstop for the Missions in 2018, has emerged at age 21 as one of the most talked about players in the game with the San Diego Padres.

In addition, Dinelson Lamet (Missions, 2016), Franmil Reyes (2017), and then Chris Paddack and Cal Quantrill (in 2018) have surged from the Double-A level to establish themselves as some of the most promising young players in the MLB at the moment.

Among players on the Triple-A Missions from last year, Keston Hiura and Trent Grisham have delivered with the most impact in the majors thus far.

Here’s a glance at some of the Missions players from the past four seasons and how they have fared in their jump to the top level of the game:

Keston Hiura played for the San Antonio Missions for part of the 2019 season before being called up by the Milwaukee Brewers. - photo by Joe Alexander

Keston Hiura played for the San Antonio Missions for part of the 2019 season before being called up by the Milwaukee Brewers. – photo by Joe Alexander


Keston Hiura — The batting average for the Milwaukee Brewers’ infielder (.240) has slipped from last season (.303). But he has continued to slug homers, seven of them in 25 games. He hit 19 for the Brewers last summer after his call up from the Missions, for whom he hit another 19 round-trippers and a .329 average.

Mauricio Dubon — San Francisco Giants utility player is hitting .265 in 27 games. The Brewers traded Dubon to the Giants last July. He became the first player from Honduras to make an opening-day MLB roster this season.

Trent Grisham — San Diego Padres’ starting center fielder (.261, 7 HR, 14 RBI) has figured prominently in the team’s rise into playoff contention in the National League. He hit three home runs out of the leadoff spot Saturday night. Grisham was traded from the Brewers to the Padres in the offseason.

Taylor Williams — Seattle Mariners right-handed reliever (six saves, 3.00 earned run average) is pitching well. The Mariners claimed Williams off waivers in February. Williams made 46 appearances out of the bullpen for the Missions last year. He was 3-3, earned six saves and posted a 2.83 earned run average in Triple-A, but he had some rough outings in 10 appearances with the Brewers at the major league level.

Devin Williams — Williams (1-1, 0.93 ERA) has a bright future with the Brewers. He throws in the high 90 mph range and has been a strikeout machine, fanning 20 in 9 and 2/3 innings this season. Missions’ fans might not remember him well. He was in San Antonio for the last half of the 2019 season and appeared in only 13 games.

Burch Smith — The San Antonio native is currently on the Oakland A’s injured list. Previously, he established himself as a key member of the A’s bullpen. Smith is 2-0 with a 2.25 earned run average and a save with the A’s, who have the best record in the American League. Smith split time between the Missions and Brewers last summer. He was picked up off waivers by the Giants last Aug. 12 and then purchased by the A’s on Feb. 15.

Trent Grisham played for the San Antonio Missions for part of the 2019 season before being called up by the Milwaukee Brewers. - photo by Joe Alexander

Trent Grisham is batting leadoff for the resurgent San Diego Padres. The former standout at Richland Hills High School played for the Missions in 2019. – photo by Joe Alexander

Corbin Burnes — Burnes (0-0, 3.42) is still searching for consistency. But he has shown flashes of potential to become a quality pitcher. With a high-90s stuff and extremely good breaking stuff, he’s got a chance. Burnes started last year in Milwaukee and then was sent down to the Missions to find himself. He’s 25 years old. Might just need time.

Adrian Houser — Houser is a starter in the Brewers’ rotation. The Oklahoma native is 1-2 with a 3.72 earned run average after going 6-7 with a 3.72 ERA in Milwaukee last summer. Houser started the Missions’ first game as a Triple-A franchise in April 2019 at Oklahoma City.

Travis Shaw — Shaw has played 18 games for the Toronto Blue Jays. A former 30 home run slugger with the Brewers, he’s hitting .231 with three homers and seven RBI for the Jays.


Fernando Tatis, Jr. –Tatis has emerged as the major league leader in home runs (12) and RBI (29). He’s also seventh in OPS (1.023). His grand slam on a 3-0 count last week in Arlington, against the Rangers, touched off a controversy on baseball’s “unwritten rules.” It also set the stage for the Padres to hit grand slams in five of six games, a major league record. Tatis played parts of the 2017 and 2018 seasons with the Missions.

Chris Paddack — Right-handed pitcher from Austin (2-2, 4.26) started on opening day for the Padres. It’s his turn again on Tuesday when the Padres, on a seven-game winning streak, host the Seattle Mariners.

Ty France — Outfielder has moved into the Padres’ starting lineup in the absence of injured Tommy Pham. He aided in the destruction of the Texas Rangers last Thursday with a home run in the eighth inning of an eventual 8-7 victory in 10 innings.

Austin Allen — Won the backup catching job with the Oakland A’s after an off-season trade from the Padres. He hit his first career home run on Aug. 5 in a 6-4 home victory over the Texas Rangers. The two-run shot put Oakland ahead for good. Allen also made some waves on Aug. 9 when he was among players ejected in a benches-clearing brawl in Houston.

Cal Quantrill — The Padres right-hander (2-0, 2.93) enjoyed a big moment on Aug. 10 when he pitched three scoreless innings of relief to get the victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. The native of Port Hope in Ontario, Canada pitched in both the 2017 and 2018 seasons for the Missions.


Franmil Reyes — The 6-foot-5 Reyes has been one of the hottest hitters for the Cleveland Indians over the last few weeks. In his past 10 games, he’s hitting .342 with four home runs and eight RBI. In a stretch from Aug. 15 to Aug. 17, he hit three homers in Detroit, including one that traveled 462 feet and another 453.

Luis Urias — After sitting out the first several weeks of the season, the Brewers’ infielder started fast but is now in a bit of a slump. He is 2 for 18 in his last five games, driving down his batting average to .294. Urias has had some physical setbacks since joining the Brewers in an off-season trade. He broke a bone in his hand in spring training and tested positive for Covid-19 during summer camp.


Dinelson Lamet — The 28-year-old, right-hander (2-1, 1.89) leads the Padres in earned run average and innings pitched (33.1). He’s also the team leader in strikeouts (45). Lamet, in perhaps his best performance this summer, took a no hitter into the seventh inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 9. He started 14 games for the Missions in 2016. Lamet was 5-7 with a 3.39 earned run average in Double-A.