ELK GROVE, Calif. (KTXL) — The Sacramento region has always had a strong showing in Major League Baseball, but one local high school in particular has had more than its fair share of big league ballplayers recently.
Jeff Carlson isn’t just the proud father of St. Louis Cardnials outfielder Dylan Carlson, he’s a longtime baseball coach at Elk Grove High School.
“It was kind of nerve-racking, to tell you the truth. You know, you just want him to just succeed and get that first hit, and when it came you could see it, it was very exciting. You could see the emotion in the room,” Carlson said last month as he and loved ones watched his son on television.
Over 19 years, Carlson’s teams won eight Sac-Joaquin section titles and five of his players from those teams currently play in the big leagues.
There is Derek Hill with the Detroit Tigers.
“When you talk about a Derek Hill, his speed, his defense, just game-changing stuff like that,” Carlson told FOX40.
Nick Madrigal with the Chicago White Sox.
“Nick Madrigal, just the way he handles the bat,” Carlson said. “He doesn’t strike out, puts the ball in play.”
J.D. Davis with the New York Mets, and the most established player of the group.
“Just the raw power he has,” Carlson said.
There’s Toronto Blue Jays slugger Rowdy Tellez.
“Rowdy Tellez would hit the ball into orbit,” Carlson said.
And, of course, his son Dylan.
“A switch-hitter. Power from both sides. He can run,” Carlson said. “They all possess certain things and have different qualities and tools.”
From Elk Grove to the majors, a total of 15 players from the Thundering Herd have played in the MLB.
“You know, I get a lot of the credit a lot, but there’s a lot of other people who have helped me along the way and I’m just proud of that, that we were able to put something together like that, and that’s what you call a program,” the coach said. “I think we had a great program, and we still do.”
There are hundreds of other ballplayers who played for Coach Carlson who didn’t make it to the big leagues, and he’s just as proud of those guys.
“It wasn’t about championships. It was just about making these guys, better guys and better husbands, better workers. We were fortunate enough to win titles, and fortunate enough to have some guys make the big leagues,” he said. “It’s pretty awesome.”