California Baptist is a small, private university in the suburban hamlet of Riverside, Calif., that up until five years ago competed athletically in the National Christian College Athletic Association.
|Cal Baptist is expected to tie a record with a top-10-rounds pick four years in a row, matching Kennesaw State from 2000-2003
Now, the baseball program’s stunning ascent through the college ranks is about to result in a piece of history.
Cal Baptist is in position to become just the second Division II program to have a pitcher drafted in the top 10 rounds four years in a row. Trevor Oaks (seventh round, 2014), Adam Hofacket (10th, 2015) and Tyson Miller (fourth, 2016) got the streak started, and Lancers righthander Garett King is expected to be picked by the end of day two this year.
To this point, the only Division II program to have a pitcher selected in the top 10 rounds four years in a row was Kennesaw State from 2000-2003, prior to the Owls’ transition to Division I.
CBU’s looming accomplishment is a testament to head coach Gary Adcock, who also serves as the program’s pitching coach.
“I think we do simple well,” Adcock said. “Successful pitchers do five things: They have good command, good stuff, they’re mentally strong, they’re durable, and they field their position. Those five things are incorporated into every practice we run. We work on the durability, the mental side, the command, the stuff. We don’t shag BP and hit ground balls in practice with pitchers. We work on pitching.”
Adcock, 45, was a weekend starter at UCLA in the early 1990s despite being just a 5-foot-7 righthander. The intense preparation he needed to succeed guides his pitching development philosophy.
“I had to prepare, that’s kind of where I hung my hat. So now I get these guys that are more physical and they prepare,” said Adcock, who was the pitching coach at Purdue (1999-2000) and UCLA (2001-03) before taking over Cal Baptist in 2004. “I tell our kids all the time, ‘I’m not giving a lesson.’ Lessons are different. Lessons you don’t have to get anybody out. Lessons you don’t have to conceal your pitches or hold runners. Running a pitching staff is not like running a lesson. You’ve got to develop the complete pitcher.”
While King is a Nebraska transfer who was drafted out of high school, Oaks, Hofacket and Miller were all under-the-radar preps who developed entirely at CBU.
Oaks, now the Dodgers No. 14 prospect, experienced the transformation from unknown to sought-after prospect firsthand. Lightly-recruited out of high school, Oaks posted a 4.05 ERA at NAIA Biola before transferring to CBU. In his first season with the Lancers, he went 11-0, 1.68 and was one of the first Division II players drafted.
“For me, personally, I needed the philosophy and the mindset when I was out there pitching and that’s what coach Adcock does really well,” Oaks said. “He understands the game and knows what pitchers have to do in order to control the game. And when you give that to a guy that has the stuff and the tools, it makes everything simple for him. I think that’s why all the guys have done so well. It just becomes really simple for everybody.”
There is no sign the Lancers’ streak will end this year. Sophomore righthander Justin Montgomery will pitch in the Cape Cod League this summer and is already considered one of the top Division II prospects for the 2018 draft.
In fact, just about the only thing that could stop the Lancers’ Division II streak is their scheduled move to Division I in 2019.
“It’s not always about where you go, it’s about where you can develop and where you fit and I think guys have bought into that,” Adcock said. “The fact we’ve had this streak, it’s kind of recruiting itself now.”