Two Mountaineers drafted in MLB
Its late-season rush of winning gave West Virginia some reason to be forward-looking when considering the 2017 Big 12 baseball season.
The summer of its players finding residences in a number of collegiate leagues was just ahead . . . but so was the major league’s draft of college and high school players.
West Virginia had junior pitcher Chad Donato selected in the 11th round by Houston. Donato is a native of the Houston area and was quoted just after learning of his being drafted that he would probably join the professional ranks this summer.
Even though he pitched 96.1 innings for the Mountaineers, Donato had only a 3-4 record. His ERA was a creditable 3.27 and he had 111 strikeouts.
Another pitcher, reliever Blake Smith, was selected in the 29th round by the Los Angeles Angels.
Smith had eight saves and finished with a 2.20 ERA. He pitched for two seasons with the Mountaineers. Like Donato, Smith gave indication that he would turn professional if tendered a reasonable offer. If neither player signs a pro contract, they can indicate they want to return to college by mid-July and maintain their amateur status.
One of West Virginia’s signees for next season, switch-hitting outfielder Jordan Scott, was drafted in the 14th round by the New York Yankees. Smith played at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida after playing in Georgia the previous season. He is already 19 years old, so could take a viable New York offer and skip college baseball altogether.
The Mountaineers finished fourth in the Big 12 regular season standings, and then reached the championship game in the conference tournament.
West Virginia took a 3-0 tournament record into the event’s championship game, but an extra-inning loss to Texas Christian kept it out of the NCAA Tournament.