Here are 7 Bulldog alumni to watch this MLB season


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Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees celebrates a 7-5 against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in New York.

By Alexander Scott, Contributor

The 2023 Major League Baseball season begins this week, and there are plenty of former Bulldogs to watch in action.

There have been a lot of great Fresno State baseball teams in the 101 years of the program’s existence. One in particular is the 2008 team that brought home the National Championship.

The “Wonderdogs” had five players from that team 15 years ago that would eventually make it to the big leagues. 

Justin Wilson

One of them, Justin Wilson (2006-08), will be entering his 12th season after signing a one-year contract with the Milwaukee Brewers.

After graduating from Buchanan High School in 2005, Wilson opted to stay home and go to school at Fresno State instead of going pro.

It paid off for Wilson, who went 17-10 with a 3.79 earned run average (ERA) and 238 strikeouts in 64 games for Fresno State. 

In addition to helping his team win the NCAA title, the lefty was named to the College World Series All-Tournament Team.

Wilson has since enjoyed a successful career, recording a 33-24 record, a 3.41 ERA and 510 strikeouts. Wilson has played the most professional games compared to other  Fresno State alumni, pitching 527 games.

Apart from the 2008 team, the 2013 team had four players go on to play in the major leagues including Aaron Judge (2011-13), Austin Wynns (2011-13), Jordan Luplow (2012-14), and Taylor Ward (2013-15). 

Aaron Judge

Prior to becoming one of the most revered sluggers in the world, Judge was doing the same at Bob Bennett Stadium.

In three seasons at Fresno State, Judge hit .345 with 18 home runs while driving in 93 runs. The 6-foot-7-inch outfielder moved quickly on the base paths, swiping 36 bags. 

Judge was named a Freshman All-American in 2011, in addition to winning the 2012 TD Ameritrade College Home Run Derby and being named to the all-conference team in all three of his seasons for the Diamond ‘Dogs.

Judge helped lead the Bulldogs to winning their conference tournament in both 2011 and 2012 en route to playing in the NCAA Division I baseball tournament.

Judge has become one of the biggest faces in all of baseball due to his record-breaking number of home runs. 

He is coming off a historic season in which he hit 62 HRs, an American League record

The 2022 AL MVP signed a nine-year, $360 million contract extension this past offseason to remain a New York Yankee for life. 

Austin Wynns 

On opening day this season, the Yankees will host his former college teammate Wynns along with the San Francisco Giants.

Wynns is entering his fifth year in the MLB, his second with the Giants. He had his best season yet in 2022, hitting .259 in 66 games. 

In his three seasons at Fresno State, Wynns hit .296 as the primary catcher.

Jordan Luplow

After winning the 2011 High School National Championship, Luplow followed the legacy of Wilson, staying home to play for the Bulldogs. 

The Buchanan graduate started all 59 games for the Bulldogs as a freshman in 2012 and was named MVP of the WAC Tournament. 

Injuries his sophomore season forced him to move from third base to the outfield. Luplow rebounded as a junior and was named the Mountain West Conference Player of the Year in 2014 after hitting .377/.475/.609 with nine HRs and 48 RBIs in 57 games. His efforts earned him a place as a second-team NCAA All-American.

In six MLB seasons, Luplow has 45 career HRs and is currently vying for a role as the starting left fielder for the Atlanta Braves. 

Taylor Ward

Taylor Ward was just a freshman when he played with the likes of Judge, Wynns and Luplow, but that didn’t stop him from making a name for himself. 

In 162 games at Fresno State, Ward hit .288 with 16 HRs and 98 RBIs. He was named in 2015 to the first-team All-Mountain West as a catcher.

A first round pick by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in 2015 transitioned Ward from a catcher to an outfielder. His versatility has served him well over the years playing six different positions. 

In 2022, Ward hit .281 with 23 HRs and 65 RBIs as the Angels primary right fielder. 

Dylan Lee

In 2021, Dylan Lee (2015-16) got to experience what winning a World Series was like. The Dinuba native made two appearances in the series and got to hoist the trophy as a pitcher for the Atlanta Braves. 

Lee transferred to Fresno State after two seasons at the College of the Sequoias. In 2015, he pitched 15 games with five starts and had a 4-2 record. In 2016, he appeared in 28 games and had a 3.45 ERA.

The former Bulldog’s career is looking bright after recording a 2.13 ERA with 59 strikeouts in 46 games last season with the Braves.

Jimmy Lambert

Jimmy Lambert (2014-16) shared similar success as Lee in college. His junior season, he finished with an overall record of 10-2 with a 3.13 ERA over 15 games as a starter and was named the Mountain West Conference Co-Pitcher of the Year. 

Despite starting in both college and the minors, Lambert has been used primarily as a reliever for the Chicago White Sox. Last season, he had a 3.26 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 42 appearances for the Sox. 

For these seven Bulldog alums, the upcoming MLB season will be filled with reminiscence of Fresno State glory days and friendly competition.