July 2, 2004
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University baseball program lost two signees and an underclassmen who have decided to forgo their college eligibility and enter the professional ranks following the recent Major League Baseball draft.
Signee Phillip Hughes from Santa Ana, Calif. signed a contract with the New York Yankees following his first round selection in the major league draft. Fellow Bronco signee Chuck Lofgren, a 2004 graduate of Serra High School, signed with the Cleveland Indians after being selected in the fourth round. The Broncos also lost junior first baseman Will Thompson to the professional ranks after he signed with the San Francisco Giants.
"Phil Hughes is a great kid with a tremendous work ethic," SCU Head Coach Mark O'Brien said. "He deserved everything he's received by getting drafted in the first round. Obviously, we wish he would have come to Santa Clara, but he has a great chance to become a major leaguer one day."
Hughes was the 23rd overall pick in the draft after being touted as one of the best arms in California during his high school career at Foothill High School. He was the 16th ranked prospect in the nation and fifth in the state by Baseball America heading into his senior year. As a junior, Hughes posted a 0.78 ERA with a sparkling 12-0 record. Hughes also struck out 85 batters in 72 innings of work.
Playing with the Gulf Coast Yankees in Tampa Florida, Hughes has made his professional debut last week. He started his first game and threw two scoreless innings.
Lofgren recently finalized his contract with the Indians after an impressive senior season at Serra. The left-hander was 7-2 on the mound with a 2.58 ERA. At the plate, he was equally dominant batting .347 during the year. According to Lofgren, he will get the opportunity to pitch and play outfield and first base for the Cleveland organization.
"This is something I've been working for my whole life," Lofgren told the San Jose Mercury News. "But this is just the beginning now. I'm like a baby again and will have to work my way up."
A junior at Santa Clara after transferring to the Mission Campus from the University of Arizona, Thompson signed with the Giants and decided to forfeit his last year of eligibility. San Francisco took the Missoula, Mont. native in the seventh round of the draft, with the 220th overall pick. In his junior season, Thompson hit .310 with a team-high 19 doubles. He tied Nic Crosta for the team-lead with 11 home runs.
Thompson is already seeing action in the minor leagues as he is playing for the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes in Oregon. He has started 11 games at first base and is currently hitting .326.
"Will had a really nice career at Santa Clara," O'Brien commented. "He is going to be a great asset to the Giants' organization. He already reminds me of their current first baseman J.T. Snow. Everyone associated with our program will miss Will, but this is a tremendous opportunity for him to advance his baseball career at a high level professionally."