Alaska Baseball Academy (ABA’s) Jonny Homza had a great Tuesday this week. He was selected by the San Diego Padres in the fifth round of the Major League Baseball Draft and celebrated his 18th birthday. Not a bad day!
Homza has been a member of the Sockeye family for 3 years and is a two-time Alaska Gatorade Player of the Year, as well as a state HS baseball champion.
It appears Jonny is about to become the newest ABA Sockeye to get paid to play baseball. In April former ABA player and current ABA coach Chad Nading also signed with the Padres organization. Nading is currently the closer for the Padre AA affiliate San Antonio Missions team.
Homza, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound infielder was drafted as a third baseman but may get a long look behind the dish.
“Jonny is the best position player that I’ve seen up here since Trajan Langdon,” says Tony Wylie of the Alaska Baseball Academy. “I am so happy for him and proud of him, not just because of how high he was drafted but because of how hard he’s worked. His father Tom, his mom Julia and his older brother Willy are a great family and they’ve instilled an outstanding work ethic in him. Willy, also a member of the ABA Sockeye family just finished his sophomore season with the Brown University baseball team.”
“If I was going to show my young teams a video on hitting, I mean every element of hitting — from how they set up to how they’re quiet in the box to how they use their lower body and don’t waste energy — I would show them a video clip of Jonny. His swing is exactly what we try to teach.”
“Back in 2013 when Jonny would show up at practice with older brother Willy we knew he was going to be special and by 2015 lots of other folks in the baseball community down south knew it too. Back in the spring of 2016 when I took him down to play for the first time in some exhibition games against minor league players he was facing guys throwing mid-90s fastballs and it was no big deal for him, he was still hitting frozen ropes off the wall. I heard multiple times ‘This kid’s not really from Alaska, right?’ And I’d say, ‘Yep and he’s only a junior.’ “
Homza is one of two ABA Alumni to be selected in the fifth round in the last 5 years. Dylan Baker of Juneau, a member of the Alaska Baseball Academy 2009 travel squad was a fifth-round pick by Cleveland in 2012.
Credit: Van Williams