Five Big Train Alumni Turn Pro

By:Dylan Spilko

The Bethesda Big Train saw a few notable players from the franchise’s past have their names called during the 2021 MLB Draft this past week. 

Outfielder Tanner Allen (Big Train 2017; Mississippi State) was the first alum to be chosen in this year’s draft. Coming out of Mississippi State, Allen went in the 4th round, 118th overall to the Miami Marlins. The outfielder played for the Big Train as an incoming freshman, hitting .200 and he collected 12 hits to go along with eight RBIs and one home run. This past season for Mississippi State, Allen was awarded SEC Player of the Year for his offensive efforts. He hit at a .383 clip and notched 11 home runs in 67 games for the Bulldogs. Allen also tallied 100 hits, 66 RBIs and 72 runs scored for the Bulldogs en route to being selected in the 2021 draft. 


Chase Lee (Alabama) won the Cal Ripken League Pitcher of the Year award in 2019.

Right-handed pitcher Chase Lee (Big Train 2019; Alabama) went in the sixth round as the 164th overall selection by the Texas Rangers. Lee played for the Big Train in 2019, dominating the Cal Ripken League en route to being named the league's Pitcher of the Year. He managed 26.0 innings of work over 16 appearances out of the bullpen and had a sparkling 1.03 ERA to show for it in the regular season. Lee conceded just 16 total hits and struck out a remarkable 51 batters in the regular season to eventually help the Big Train capture a league title. At Alabama, Lee shined as a reliever, pitching to a 1.87 ERA with 94 strikeouts in 82 innings across three seasons with the Tide. He earned a third team All-America spot from the NCBWA as a junior in 2021 and made the ABCA/Rawlings All-Southeast Region First Team. 

Infielder Kobe Kato (Big Train 2019; Arizona) was taken by the Houston Astros in the 13th round at 388th overall. He won the Cal Ripken League Player of the Year award in 2019 and along with Lee helped Bethesda win the league title. Kato’s 2019 season was certainly one to be remembered. He finished the regular season with a .441 batting average over the course of 38 games. The infielder totaled a whopping 49 walks and 53 hits to go with his 22 RBIs and 41 runs scored over the course of the season and set league records in batting average and on-base percentage (.612). The Hawaii native was named to the 2021 ​​Tucson NCAA Regional All-Tournament Team and a 2021 Pac-12 All-Conference Honorable Mention for his season at Arizona. 

Right-handed pitcher Carlos Lomeli (Big Train 2018; St. Mary's CA) was the final Big Train alum to be selected, as he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 17th round at the 493rd overall spot. He was a starting pitcher for the Big Train back in 2018. In five starts, Lomeli went 4-1 and amassed a strong 1.76 ERA. He worked just over 30 innings of action in a Bethesda uniform and compiled 37 strikeouts. At St. Mary’s, Lomeli was a four-year player that had a good amount of success as a key pitcher for the team. In his senior season, he appeared in 16 games for his school and made 11 starts. Lomeli compiled a 5-6 record with a 4.21 ERA across 72.2 innings in 2021, which was the third most innings thrown on the Gaels’ roster. 

Austin Gauthier (Hofstra) was hitting .279 in 24 games this summer.

Even though the draft concluded with four former Big Train players being taken, there was action afterwards with signees. Infielder Austin Gauthier (Big Train 2021; Hofstra) signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers as an undrafted free agent after the conclusion of the draft. Gauthier’s signing officially ends his 2021 summer campaign with the Big Train. The infielder hit at a .279 clip from the plate over 24 games this summer, notching 24 hits, 24 RBIs and four home runs in 86 at-bats. Gauthier appeared in 38 games for Hofstra this spring and tallied 22 RBIs off an impressive .338 batting average. He was named to the ABCA/Rawlings All-Northeast Region First Team and was an All-Colonial Athletic Association First Team selection in 2021. Gauthier was set to attend University of Maryland as a grad transfer but will forgo that commitment to play for the Dodgers.


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