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Making the cut: Four former Gonzaga players earn spots on MLB 60-man rosters

UPDATED: Wed., July 1, 2020

Taylor Jones was selected in the 19th round of the 2016 MLB draft after helping lead Gonzaga to the NCAA Tournament.  (Associated Press)
Taylor Jones was selected in the 19th round of the 2016 MLB draft after helping lead Gonzaga to the NCAA Tournament. (Associated Press)
By Justin Reed The Spokesman-Review

With COVID-19 laying waste to college athletics this spring, Gonzaga baseball had its season abruptly shut down in mid-March.

As the current Zags sit on the sidelines until next season, four former Zags made Major League Baseball rosters on Monday: Marco Gonzales (Seattle Mariners), Brandon Bailey and Taylor Jones (Houston Astros), and Eli Morgan (Cleveland Indians).

Gonzales is again on the Mariners’ opening day roster and will top the rotation for the second season in a row.

Gonzales has been with the Mariners since 2017 after the Cardinals dealt the No. 17 overall pick in the 2013 MLB draft. For his career, he is 34-25 with a 4.25 earned-run average and 356 strikeouts.

Gonzales won honors as West Coast Conference player, pitcher and freshman of the year and was the recipient of the John Olerud Award – given to the NCAA’s best two-way player – in 2013.

Bailey and Jones were both selected in the 2016 draft after helping lead the Bulldogs to the NCAA Tournament .

Bailey struck out 17 BYU batters in the WCC Tournament in 2016 and was 10-3 with a 2.42 ERA and 125 strikeouts – the third most in program history.

He was selected in the sixth round, 172nd overall, by the Oakland Athletics.

A Kent, Washington, native, Jones was picked by the Astros in the 19th round, 577th overall.

The former Zags first baseman was a lockdown defender his senior season with a .992 fielding percentage and was top five in the country with 27 doubles, also a program record.

As a junior, Morgan earned second-team All-American honors in 2017 after one of the best seasons in Bulldogs history. He fanned 138 batters, second most in program history and third most in the country.

As a Zag, he went 21-5, for an .808 winning percentage (second in Bulldog history) with 281 strikeouts (third).

Morgan was drafted in the eighth round, 252nd overall, of the 2017 draft .

MLB is slated to return July 23 or 24 for a 60-game schedule after months of deliberation between the league and the MLB Players Association.

One of the new rules in play for 2020 includes a 60-man roster. Usually, teams have a 40-man roster with a 26-man active roster, but in 2020 an extra 20 players will be considered a taxi squad.

With no minor league baseball this season, MLB has also altered its roster flexibility over the first few weeks of the schedule.

Players reported Wednesday to team facilities for workouts. Stadiums and satellite sites will be used to help players get ready for the shortened season.

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