Dodgers make dream come true for Joliet native
Maybe sometimes watching a little TV is a good thing.
Joliet Catholic Academy alumnus Rylan Bannon said he was at his parents' house in Joliet doing just that when he heard his name called.
“I was at home with my sister; my parents were at work,” Bannon told the Will County Gazette. “We were watching the selections and heard my name called. It was really unbelievable.”
At that moment, Bannon's dreams of playing professional baseball came true.
Bannon was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the eighth round of the 2017 MLB Draft. He was assigned to the Ogden (Utah) Raptors, who play in the Pioneer League.
For the past three seasons, Bannon has played for Xavier University and finished his junior year before he was drafted. As a junior, Bannon had a .339 batting average, 50 RBIs and 15 home runs for the Musketeers. He was also named Big East player of the year and picked for the Big East First Team.
“This has been a fun process,” Bannon said. “I was just playing college ball three or four weeks ago. Now I'm down here playing for the Ogden Raptors and was drafted by the Dodgers. The past couple of weeks have been pretty hectic.”
Since making the jump to professional baseball, Bannon said the main thing he's noticed is how consistently strong pitchers are.
“Adjusting to the pitching has been the biggest thing,” he said. “You see good guys each and every day. The guys in the bullpen have good arms, and they have all good pitches. You never see bad arms.”
Bannon said he loves being able to take the field and play baseball every day, but knows he still has a lot of work to do to move up through the minor leagues.
“Every day you come out here you’ve got to make adjustments, depending on where you’re playing and what team you’re playing," he said. "I think so far it’s been really good for me.”
The Raptors season is still young, but as of publication, he is batting .438 and has racked up 14 hits and three homers in 32 at-bats.
Bannon credited his success to coaching.
“The coaching I've had throughout college and high school has really helped me get here,” he said. “Up until this year I haven’t gotten talked to by scouts very much, so this is all kind of new to me. But I have had the coaching that has prepared me for this moment.”
For Bannon, the best thing about getting drafted is being able to live out his dream of playing pro ball.
“Being out here every day with the guys is great,” he said. “It’s an adjustment to make when you realize this is your job. You have to take care of your body so you can get out there every day and produce.”