YORKTON - Major Baseball recently held its annual draft and Biggar’s Garrett Hawkins was selected by the San Diego Padres.
The right-handed pitcher was selected in the ninth round, 280th overall.
Hawkins said the announcement was one of joy.
“I was just instantly excited and ready to take the next step,” he said in a recent telephone interview.
Hawkins said he was aware the Padres were at least interested in him.
“The Padres have a Canadian coach,” he said, adding “he came out and saw me when I was still at UBC (University of British Columbia), so I kind of knew they were interested.”
Hawkins said he hasn’t exactly followed the Padres, but what he knows makes him excited to be in the team’s plans.
“I don’t know a ton. I just know they’ve got some young guys that are really on the rise. I’m just happy to be part of that,” he said.
Hawkins said he expects to sign a deal once a physical is out of the way, adding inking a deal if he was drafted was always the plan.
“I want to take this as far as I can,” he said, adding he will take baseball as far as he can, and if things don’t work out he’ll head back to college to finish his degree.
Hawkins was taking kinesiology at UBC, adding it was the education that took him west.
“The program I was taking was nationally ranked,” he said, adding it helped too that the baseball program was a good one.
On a visit to the campus the baseball coach and program both impressed the big right-hander who stands 6-foot-5.
Hawkins said his size is a definite asset on the mound.
“I hit the zone. I’ve always kind of been a strike thrower,” he said, adding that he is not exactly a power pitcher, although the velocity is improving, “. . . But I have a presence on the mound. I’m a big figure. I don’t let the hitter get comfortable.”
It helped Hawkins for the draft that with UBC not playing baseball due to COVID-19 he headed south to play this summer for the Trenton Thunder of the MLB Draft League where he was off to 1-0, with a 2.62 ERA in six starts, walking two and striking out 32 in 24 innings.
“There’s not a lot of scouts in Canada to get looks,” said Hawkins, so good numbers in the Draft League helped catch some looks. “It showed what I could do when I got some innings.”
Hawkins, who was born in 2000, said as a kid he played the full range of sports in Biggar.
“Growing up I basically played everything, basketball, volleyball. I curled, played hockey,” he said, adding ultimately he chose to focus on baseball.
“I think I just kind of had a knack for it growing up,” he said.
Locally, fans might recall Hawkins as in the summer of 2019, Hawkins played in the Western Major Baseball League for the Swift Current 57’s. He posted a 3-2 record with a 2.91 ERA in 10 games, making five starts and striking out 38 batters in 34 innings and walking 12.
Hawkins was also part of Team Saskatchewan national championship-winning squads in 2016 and 2017, capturing a Canada Cup in 2016 and claiming gold at the Jeux Canada Summer Games in 2017.
Where he ends up next is still to be determined, but Hawkins said he’s just going to go where the Padres thinks he needs to be.
“I’m just kind of going with the flow right now,” he said, adding when he finally inks the contract it might all seem a bit more real and immediate.