Radford University baseball standout Straton Podaras is headed west after signing a professional contract with the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday.
Podaras has been a steady presence both at the dish and behind the plate for the Highlanders over the last five years, playing in 176 games and making 156 starts. He finished his collegiate career with a .272 batting average and an even more impressive .414 on-base percentage. He also set a program record with 79 caught runners attempting to steal.
The Glen Head, N.Y., native put together his best season as a graduate student in 2021, earning First Team All-Big South honors. He was also named one of 16 semifinalists for the Buster Posey Award, an honor given annually to the nation’s top collegiate catcher.
Offensively, Podaras posted a302/.434/.414 slash line. His batting average and on-base percentage both ranked second on the team. He also had eight doubles and two home runs. He added to his defensive stats with a whopping 31 runners caught stealing.
The Angels, a member of Major League Baseball’s AL West division, have affiliated minor league clubs in Salt Lake City, Utah (AAA), Madison, Ala. (AA), Pasco, Wash. (A+), and San Bernardino, Calif. (A).
Should Podaras realize his dreams and climb the ranks all the way to the majors, he would become the second Highlander in history to play for the Angels, joining Phil Leftwich (1993-96).