CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Parkland College baseball continues to produce big league talent, with multiple former Cobras suiting up in the MLB this year alone. Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier is the most successful Parkland product playing at the highest level, in his ninth season with Tampa Bay, turning pro straight out of Champaign, winning multiple gold gloves. The other active MLB player who suited up for the Cobras is St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher James Naile, who got his first call-up just a few weeks ago.

Other former Cobras who have MLB action this year include Nick Wittgren and Spencer Patton. Wittgren signed a $1.2 million contract with the Cardinals earlier this year but was DFA’d recently. Dan Winkler (White Sox) has multiple years experience pitching in the big leagues, he’s currently in AAA ball in Charlotte, with Patton (Rangers) also currently at his organization’s AAA affiliate.

“It’s good to see people watching guys who played the junior college route have that experience and have that stepping stone for them to get to where they want to be,” Parkland head coach Anthony Silkwood said. “I think having that many guys in the MLB, five this year have been in the MLB, I think that should say a lot about the junior college program. It should also open eyes up to people who weren’t always so open to it, but also realize even if you are open to junior college, like it’s not easy. We have professional level players and it’s always going to be a constant thing here.”

Silkwood’s first team at Parkland finished with a 31-22-2 record.