Recent grad becomes highest draft pick in BW history


For many Division III athletes, they know that college is the last stop in their playing careers.

But for Baldwin Wallace Baseball alum Danny Cody, his four years at BW was just the beginning.
Cody graduated in May 2019 and less than a month later he was receiving a call from the Houston Astros.

He had been drafted.

Cody was drafted by the Astros in the 17th round of the MLB Draft, making him the highest pick of any BW athlete. And for him, the past summer was a whirlwind.

From throwing at Wrigley Field in Chicago to doing pre-draft workouts for other Major League Baseball teams, Cody experienced something most athletes never will.

“I was fairly certain that I was going to be drafted but had no clue what round or by which team,” Cody said. “We had a party at our house on the second day of the draft because there was a chance I could get taken that day.”

But he wasn’t.

In Cody’s case, it’s a good thing the MLB Draft is three days long. So, going into that third day, Cody said he didn’t get much sleep.

And that’s when he received the call.

“I was just sitting and waiting until I finally got the call that the Astros were going to take me in the 17th round,” Cody said. “It was just a huge rush of emotion, because it was my dream to play professionally since I was a little kid.”

You see, many people refer to the time after graduation as “the real world.” For Cody, his first task in the real world was to travel down to West Palm Beach, where the Astros host spring training. Cody says that’s when he realized what was really happening.

If you look at the Houston Astros, a perennial World Series contender, most of their athletes are what the sports world calls “homegrown,” meaning the Astros drafted them, and the player worked their way through the minor leagues and all the way up to the big league roster.

Cody says by stepping into their complex, he understood how they were so good at growing talent.

“I immediately realized why the Astros have had so much success with their farm system, especially in the development of their pitchers,” he said. “The amount of knowledge and resources that they have is incredible, and it’s all in place to make their players better.  A lot of the stuff is very new to me so there was definitely a bit of an adjustment period, but I’ve tried to use as much information as I can to try and improve.”

In just his first year Cody worked his way through the ranks, moving all the way up to the single A level, finishing his year with the Tri-City ValleyCats.

Getting there took quite a bit of effort, both figuratively and literally. Cody said at this level you might not know where you’re playing tomorrow.

“I started off in Florida for a few weeks and found out I was moving up to their Short Season A team. I was living in a hotel in Florida for a month and found out I was flying to Vermont the next day to meet the team on their road trip,” Cody said. “So my flight left that morning at 6 and got to Vermont two hours before the game and I pitched that night, so it is definitely a sudden change.”

Then he was reassigned again.

“I moved up to their Low A team in Iowa a few weeks after that,” he said. “I found out around 11 p.m. that my taxi to the airport left at 4 a.m., so again it was pretty hectic to pack all my stuff and ship out that quickly.”

Cody said that even though the travel seems crazy, and not a lot of people would look forward to not knowing where you’ll live tomorrow, he’s enjoying it.

“It’s cool to live in one state and then find out that the next day you’re going to fly across the country and play with an entirely different group of guys that you’ve never met before,” he said.

It might seem stressful, but for Cody, it’s just another day that he’s been preparing for.

While it’s been a whirlwind journey, Cody can trace the start to his junior season at Baldwin Wallace.

One of the teams that BW played against displayed the speed of each pitch, Cody said. On the mound for the Yellow Jackets, he threw 95 mph.

Later, at a showcase for professional scouts, he hit 96 mph.

That’s when the teams started calling him. That’s when everything started to change.

“It was definitely very sudden, to go from little expectation of playing professionally, to suddenly being contacted by all 30 teams,” Cody said. “It was very exciting and definitely made my senior season at BW a lot more interesting.”

And even with the crazy schedule and expectations, Cody said his four years at BW helped him prepare for the MLB.

“Coach [Brian] Harrison and Coach [Tom] DeAngelis work extremely hard to develop their players, and I think that it’s shown in the success that the program has had since Coach Harrison started here,” Cody said. “I think the coaching staff’s hard work, as well as the guys I played with, is the primary reason I’m in the situation that I am now.

“I’m extremely grateful for my four years at BW,” he said. “And I wouldn’t change a thing.”