(Roy Halladay photo by Associated Press)
This year’s Cy Young Award announcements had to be particularly sweet for Bob Engle, the Mariners’ vice president of international operations. Both winners — Roy Halladay of the Phillies and Felix Hernandez of the M’s — were signed, sealed and delivered by Engle.
During a long tenure in Toronto, as one of GM Pat Gillick’s top lieutenants, Engle was the Blue Jays scouting director in 1995 — his last season in that position before becoming assistant GM — when they selected Halladay in the first round (17th overall pick) out of Arvada West High School in the Denver area. Halladay won his first Cy Young in 2003 with the Jays (receiving 26 of 28 first-place votes; the other two went — and this seems amazing in retrospect — to the White Sox’s Esteban Loaiza). Halladay added Cy Two this week as a unanimous selection. He also finished second in 2003, third in 2008, fifth in 2009 and eighth in 2005.
It was also under Engle’s watch that the Blue Jays selected Chris Carpenter in the first round (No. 15 overall) in the 1993 draft out of Trinity High School in Manchester, New Hampshire. Engle was long gone (three seasons into his Mariners’ career) when the Blue Jays ill-advisedly released Carpenter after the 2002 season. He landed with the Cardinals and won the 2005 Cy Young Award (in addition to finishing second in 2009 and third in 2006).
(Pat Hentgen photo by Associated Press)
Prior to that, Engle was involved in the Blue Jays’ drafting of Pat Hentgen in the fifth round in 1986. Hentgen won the AL Cy Young in 1996. Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun last month told the story of Hentgen’s drafting, noting that he was unearthed by Jays scout Don Welke. The Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau hadn’t even turned in Hentgen’s name to the commissioner’s office for the draft, but, Elliott wrote, “Welke turned in the name and then scouting director Bob Engle selected Pat Hentgen with the final pick of the fifth round, 133rd over-all. That June the Jays drafted Earl Sanders, Steve Cummings, Andy Dziadkowiec and Xavier Hernandez before Hentgen, who went on to win a Cy Young award and two World Series rings.”
With the Mariners, of course, Engle, along with scouts Pedro Avila and Emilio Carrasquel, was responsible for inking Hernandez, then a 16-year-old kid from Venezuela, on July 4, 2002. The rest is history, capped by yesterday’s Cy Young selection. Hernandez was runnerup last year, and figures, at age 24, to be in contention for many years to come if fhe stays healthy.
Not a bad haul for one career. The Mariners hope that Michael Pineda — signed out of the Dominican Republic as a 16-year-old in 2005 by Seattle scouts Patrick Guerrero and Franklin Taveras under Engle’s watch — one day turns out to be Cy Young contender. Pineda will be added to the Mariners’ 40-man roster today, and will be given a chance, at age 22, to land a spot in the M’s rotation next spring.