Two Athletes Selected On First Day Of MLB Draft
Two Big West Conference athletes heard their names called on the first day of the 2017 Major League Baseball First-Year Draft held at the MLB Network in Secaucus, N.J.
UC Irvine’s Keston Hiura was the first league player selected as he went ninth overall to the Milwaukee Brewers, the highest-ever pick in UC Irvine program history, eclipsing Anteater Jeff Malinoff as the No. 22 overall selection in 1974. It also ties him for the 11th-highest pick in Big West Conference history as Cal State Fullerton’s Mark Kotsay (1996) and Long Beach State’s Kyle Abbott (1989) both went as the ninth selection in their respective years. The junior utility player led the nation with a .442 batting average, breaking a 46-year UCI record, and .567 on-base percentage to earn a spot as a Golden Spikes Award semifinalist and honored as the Big West Player of the Year.
Sophomore right-hander Spencer Howard was selected in the second round, the 45th overall pick, by the Philadelphia Phillies. Howard becomes the third Mustang to be drafted in the second round and is the third-highest pick in Cal Poly baseball history in terms of overall selection. Howard, named a second-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball last week, finished second in the Big West with his 2.05 ERA and his eight wins also are ranked second. Howard struck out 97 batters, third in the conference, over 87.2 innings, averaging nearly 10 strikeouts per nine-inning game. Nationally, Howard was No. 23 in ERA, No. 71 in WHiP (1.08), No. 49 in victories, No. 58 in strikeouts and No. 91 in strikeouts per nine innings.
Two rounds and a pair of competitive balance rounds were held Monday. Rounds 3-10 are scheduled for Tuesday with rounds 11-40 to complete the draft Wednesday.