They left town following the 2016 season, although their remnants remain intact across Major League Baseball.
The Bakersfield Blaze, a former Single-A minor league affiliate that took the field locally since 1946, still has over 20 former players in the big leagues. Some are marquee names.
Two wear Dodger Blue, while another is a key cog in the New York Yankees lineup. One is a former 50 home run hitter, while another is a Ridgeview High School product.
Here are 10 who continue to impact the game. You might recognize them.
Billy Hamilton, Cincinnati Reds
While in Bakersfield: One of the more unique players to put on a Blaze jersey, Hamilton was a game changer simply because of his quickness on the basepaths. The then-shortstop stole 104 bases during the 2012 campaign — a season in which he stole a minor league record 155 bags between three Reds affiliates.
Major League resume: Hamilton is in his sixth season in the majors, and he remains a running threat — he has 253 career steals, including four straight seasons with over 50 swipes. If only he could get on base more often — he holds just a .243 career batting average and a .297 on-base percentage. This year, he’s hitting at a .193 clip. Hamilton, who has been moved to center field, is one of five current Reds to come through Bakersfield — the most of any Major League team.
Yasmani Grandal, Los Angeles Dodgers
While in Bakersfield: He played part of 2011 in Bakersfield as a member of the Cincinnati organization, hitting 10 home runs with 40 RBIs and 47 runs scores.
Major League resume: Grandal enters his seventh year in the big leagues, and fourth with the Dodgers. This year he’s played in 56 of the team’s 66 games, cracking 11 home runs (second in the majors amongst catchers) and driving in 35 RBIs (tied for the lead at his position). Grandal's best year came in 2016, when he hit 27 homers to go with 72 RBIs and a .477 slugging percentage. A proven big league starter behind the plate.
Tony Cingrani, Los Angeles Dodgers
While in Bakersfield: He wasn’t here long, but was highly impressive in his stay. In 10 starts during the 2012 season, the left-hander went 5-1 with 71 strikeouts in 56 2/3 innings. He surrendered just 13 walks (ratio of 0.92) and held an ERA of 1.11. Pretty dominant stuff.
Major League resume: Cingrani shot up the ranks quickly, debuting with the Reds in 2012. He was traded to the Dodgers in 2017. Currently a middle reliever, he has a 4.84 ERA this season although has kept his strikeout rate high — 36 in 22 1/3 innings. Cingrani hasn’t surrendered a run in his last nine appearances, six of which have lasted an inning each.
Didi Gregorius, New York Yankees
While in Bakersfield: He came through as a steady-fielding shortstop for the Reds, appearing in 46 games during the 2011 season. During that time, Gregorius put together five homers, 28 RBIs, 30 runs scored and eight stolen bases.
Major League resume: Gregorius has seemingly come out of nowhere to become a solid bat in the Yankees star-studded lineup. Acquired in a trade from Arizona prior to the 2015 season, Gregorius had career highs last year in home runs (25), RBIs (87) and runs scored (73). He’s currently on pace to meet or surpass those totals this season.
Justin Miller, Washington Nationals
While in Bakersfield: A rare breed — Miller is a Bakersfield native who took the mound two seasons for his hometown team. The Ridgeview graduate played for the Blaze in 2009 and 2010 as a member of the Texas Rangers organization. He appeared in 33 games as a reliever, striking out 68 in 61 1/3 innings of work. He recorded three saves.
Major League resume: He's proof that a few bumps in the road doesn’t define a career. Miller underwent Tommy John Surgery in 2012 before making his Major League debut with eight games for the Detroit Tigers in 2014. He then appeared in 74 games for the Rockies during the 2015 and 2016 campaigns. After a minor league stint in the Angels organization he’s back in the big leagues with Washington and throwing well out of the bullpen: A 3-0 record, 17 strikeouts in nine innings, while surrendering one hit and zero walks.
Edwin Diaz, Seattle Mariners
While in Bakersfield: Although his time with the Blaze was brief, Diaz brought the heat and showed potential as a future big league closer. The 2015 season saw him go 2-0 with a 1.70 ERA. He struck out 42 in 37 innings. It was a sign of things to come.
Major League resume: Diaz looks like an MLB All-Star in 2018. He leads the majors in saves (27) and has struck out 56 in 35 innings of work. He has a ratio of 0.89.
Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles
While in Bakersfield: Davis had star power in 2007, cranking out 24 home runs and driving in 93 RBIs. A natural hitter, Davis had a .298 batting average to go with 28 doubles. His 35-game hit streak tied a Cal League record.
Major League resume: There have been years when the first baseman was one of MLB's premier power hitters, having separate seasons of 33 homers (2012), 53 (2013), 47 (2015) and 38 (2016). While he’s struggling mightily this year (.150, four homers, 15 RBIs, 10 runs scored) he’s still capable of going deep whenever he steps to the plate.
Mitch Moreland, Boston Red Sox
While in Bakersfield: Your classic power hitting corner infielder. In 2009 Moreland hit .341 with eight home runs and 26 RBIs in 43 games for the Blaze.
Major League resume: The slugging first baseman has topped 20 home runs the past three seasons and has appeared to settle in nicely with Boston. After topping 500 at bats for the first time in his career last season, Moreland has appeared in 18 straight games for the Red Sox in 2018. He’s currently batting .287 with 10 home runs and 30 RBIs.
Elvis Andrus, Texas Rangers
While in Bakersfield: The shortstop played 27 games for the Blaze in 2007, hitting two home runs, driving in 12 runs, scoring 19 runs and stealing 15 bases.
Major League resume: Andrus has been the Rangers starting shortstop for 10 years, helping lead Texas to American League championships in 2010 and 2011. He’s been battling injuries in 2018 and has appeared in just 14 games.
James Shields, Chicago White Sox
While in Bakersfield: Shields spent the 2003 and 2004 seasons with the Blaze, going 18-15 with an ERA over 4.00.
Major League resume: Shields has played 13 seasons with four different teams (Tampa Bay, Kansas City, San Diego and Chicago). He's made 385 starts and has a career 139-130 record and a 4.00 ERA. Shields started World Series games for the Rays and Royals, and was an All-Star in 2011.