Earlier this summer, three former Roadrunner baseball players had their lives changed forever. On Jun. 14, outfielder Kevin Markham along with pitchers Karl Craigie and Chris Muller heard their names called on the third and final day of the MLB draft.
“It was unbelievable,” said Muller. “As a kid, I always dreamt about having my name called on draft day, and it was definitely a feeling I will never forget.”
Muller was the first UTSA player to be taken off the draft board. He was selected as the 499th pick in the 17th round by the Tampa Bay Rays. Over the course of his 2017 season, Muller appeared in 13 games on the mound for the ‘Runners and racked up 44 strikeouts while posting a 1.72 ERA in a total of 31.1 innings pitched. He made an impact on the game every time he stepped onto the mound at Roadrunner field.
However, back in May, Muller underwent surgery to repair a Ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow. As a result, he hasn’t had a chance to throw for the Rays organization just yet. “I’m looking forward to rehabbing my elbow so I can produce and compete for the team that invested in me.” Muller said about his recovery. “ I will come back stronger and throwing harder than ever.” Muller is eager to get himself back up on the mound and throwing again.
Outfielder Kevin Markham was taken in the 24th round with pick number 713 by the Philadelphia Phillies. After missing his entire 2016 campaign due to a “Tommy John” ligament injury, Markham exploded back onto the scene for his final season. “Coming off that injury, I made a promise to coach that I would come back a better player than I was before,” said Markham.
Markham made good on his promise as he posted a .339 batting average over the season while leading the team in hits with 77 in his 54 games played. Markham also led the team in both doubles and triples with 21 and eight respectively. His offensive production rarely wavered, and as a result he was voted MVP of the 2017 Roadrunner baseball squad.
“I had no intentions of being the team MVP,” said Markham. “I just wanted to help the team win in any way possible.” As of now, Markham is working hard and playing outfield for the Gulf Coast League (GCL) Phillies out in Florida.
The last member of the 2017 Roadrunner team to be taken was pitcher Karl Craigie. Craigie was selected by the Miami Marlins in the 34th round as the 1,019th pick of the draft. Craigie was helping at a UTSA baseball camp while the draft was taking place, and was anxiously waiting to hear if his name would be called.
“I finally saw my name called and it was just a feeling of accomplishment and relief of being able to continue my baseball career,” said Craigie. “All the campers cheered for me and some of my teammates even gave me a Gatorade bath,” he said.
This past season, Craigie was always a solid option out of the bullpen for Coach Marshall. Craigie appeared in 26 games in the 2017 season and racked up 39 strikeouts while posting a 2.66 ERA in 47.1 innings pitched. He also led all UTSA pitchers in wins as he is credited with a 7-1 record.
Currently, Craigie is pitching with the GCL Marlins. There have been some adjustments he’s had to get used to, but he’s optimistic about the future. “I’ve been playing all my life and I’m happy to do it every day,” said Craigie about his time with the Marlins organization.
For these three ‘Runner alums, they’re well on their way to accomplishing their dreams of one day playing in the major leagues. Although they’ve moved on and away from the grounds of Roadrunner Field, they will now and forever be Roadrunners.
“I had an amazing time being a Roadrunner,” said Craigie. “I always loved competing for my brothers and I knew they were always going to do the same for me.”
“My experience at UTSA is something I will treasure for the rest of my life,” said Markham. “My favorite part about being a Roadrunner was being part of something bigger than a baseball team…it was us against the world.” While these three are no longer teammates, Markham, Craigie, and Muller will forever be bound together by the orange and blue. For all that they’ve given to UTSA, it’s now time for them to turn their heads towards their baseball future.