Daniel Bies was Gonzaga University’s No. 1 pitcher this season and the New York Yankees took notice by selecting the Redmond High alumnus in the seventh round of the Major League Baseball Draft on June 5.
The 6-foot-8 right-hander was picked 217th overall and, according to the Pinstripe Alley SB Nation site, “Scouts like the plane of his delivery, given his height, and the fact that he has increased his strikeouts year after year.” Bies unleashes an 89-94 mph fastball and his breaking ball is considered to be above average, the site added, and he could be a dominating reliever.
“It was a little bit surreal seeing your name up on the TV screen. It was pretty crazy,” said Bies, who watched the draft at home in Woodinville with his family and fellow RHS alumnus Marshall Cherrington, who played Mustang basketball with Bies. “As soon as I got drafted, I was excited to get down here (Tampa, Florida) to get started.”
Bies, who turned 22 in April, flew to the Yanks’ training camp in Tampa on June 9 and signed for $150,000 the following day. He figures he’ll either play for a minor-league squad on Staten Island, New York (short-season A ball) or in Pulaski, Virginia (Advanced Rookie League).
At the Tampa camp, Bies has been working on his flexibility and mobility and on bumping up the velocity of his pitches. Along with his fastball and curve, he utilizes a slider and is putting some time into his changeup.
Bies feels his changeup is going to be “important in the future as I work to climb the ladder in the minor leagues,” he said.
The 2014 RHS grad just finished his Gonzaga redshirt junior season with 16 starts and a 7-4 record over 112 innings, a team-best 2.49 ERA, 124 strikeouts and 25 walks. He was a two-time West Coast Conference pitcher of the week and earned first-team all-conference honors.
Following graduation on May 13 — during which he received his degree in business administration with an emphasis on finance, economics and operations — Bies finished the baseball season and headed home on June 4, while the draft was on its first day.
Once the Yanks made their selection, Bies knew he was signing even though he could have returned to Gonzaga for another season.
“I felt I was mentally and physically ready to play Major League Baseball,” said Bies, noting that he had already notched a host of achievements at Gonzaga, including winning the league title three years in a row. “It’s really cool waking up knowing your job is to be a baseball pitcher. I still haven’t gotten used to it.”
Bies, who underwent Tommy John surgery during high school, redshirted as a freshman at Gonzaga, according to Pinstripe Alley. He said his right elbow is feeling fine and he hasn’t had any problems with it since the surgery.
During his two years playing at RHS, he posted a 4-2 record as a starter with a 2.76 ERA and 44 strikeouts, hit .304 as a designated hitter as a senior and earned 4A KingCo honorable mention both years.
RHS baseball coach Dan Pudwill noted about Bies’ work ethic and personality: “Daniel is not the kind of person who would listen to people say he can’t do something. All he ever heard when people expressed doubt is to work harder. He has been tireless and relentless in pursuit of his dream, and it is a pleasure to see him reach another goal in that pursuit.”
Bies feels he grew as a pitcher and a person under the tutelage of Pudwill and Gonzaga coach Mark Machtolf.
“Coach Pudwill had a very competitive environment and I feel that’s how he got the best out of his players,” Bies said. “Coach Mac taught people how to be great men and I’ve matured a lot during my time with Coach Mac.”