Brewers Nab Waiakea Grad Torres-Costa in MLB DraftJune 10, 2015, 9:22 PM HST (Updated June 10, 2015, 9:25 PM)
It is a dream come true for Waiakea High School graduate Quintin Torres-Costa to get his name selected in the Major League Baseball Draft.
Now, the left-handed pitcher must determine if now is the time to chase that dream.
Torres-Costa was selected in the 35th round by the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday. He was the 1,051st overall pick in the 40-round, three-day, draft. He was one of three University of Hawai’i pitchers selected in the draft, following Tyler Brashears (14th round, Tampa Bay Rays) and L.J. Brewster (22nd round, Miami Marlins).
“My dream as a little kid growing up playing baseball was to play professional baseball,” Torres-Costa said Wednesday night. “I feel like this is my opportunity to better myself as a baseball player and get one step closer to becoming a professional.”
That answer doesn’t mean that the southpaw has made up his mind, but he said it was a “strong possibility” that he would lean toward signing a contract with the Brewers and turning pro.
“I still have to talk to the [Brewers] area scout. He said he would give me more information by tomorrow on what’s going to happen,” Torres-Costa explained. “In the end, I’m going to make the decision on my own. There is going to be, of course, my family and my advisor, to tell me the goods and the bads, but at the end of the day, I’m going to make the decision and that’s going to be the final decision I make.”
Torres-Costa closed out last season with the University of Hawai’i Rainbow Warrior Baseball team with postseason recognition from the Big West Conference. He was named to the All-Big West Second Team as a closer after recording eight saves and a 0.75 earned run average in his converted relief role. During Big West play, he recorded 22 consecutive scoreless innings and did not allow a run.
It was a rocky road for Torres-Costa to get to this point, however. His 2013 freshman season was cut short due to an injury that required surgery. He gained a medical redshirt because of the injury, and got a chance to repeat his freshman season in 2014. He worked back in slowly, going 1-1 in eleven appearances, mainly as a reliever.
Hawai’i head coach Mike Trapasso gave him an opportunity to earn a starting role this year, but when that didn’t pan out, he thrived as the team’s closer, and emerged as one of the top closers in the conference.
“It was a learning experience,” Torres-Costa reflected on his time at UH, regardless of whether it will come to an end after this season. “It’s really taught me to be humble…for where you come from. You may never know when your career may be ended.”
If the Brewers are familiar to local baseball fans, it’s because another Big Island product, Kodi Medeiros, was drafted by the organization in the first round last season. Both Medeiros and Torres-Costa have one thing in common: they combined to pitch a no-hitter in the Wally Yonamine Foundation/Hawai’i High School Athletic Association Division I Championship Game against Baldwin in 2012.
“As soon as I got drafted, he was the first person that texted me, saying congratulations and ‘can’t wait to start playing with you’ because I actually have my old throwing partner back again,” said Torres-Costa of his former teammate, who is currently pitching for the Brewers’ Class-A team, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, in the Midwest League.
A number of Big Island baseball players have heard their names called in the MLB draft in recent years, and Torres-Costa hopes that when the time is right, he’ll be able to forge a trail that could take him to the majors.
Hard work, however, never ends for Torres-Costa, who is back home as he prepares to make a decision that could affect his baseball future. Just like some of the island’s most recent draft picks, Kolten Wong, Kean Wong, Medeiros, and Jodd Carter, the left-hander isn’t taking any time off. He’s back in the hitting cage with instructor Kaha Wong, maintaining his focus and physical shape during the offseason.
Simply put, he hasn’t forgotten his roots, and he’s not taking the opportunity to play the game he loves for granted.