It was a banner year for the BIG EAST in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, as 14 more BIG EAST players were selected on Wednesday to bring the total to a record 40 BIG EAST players taken this year. The previous record was 35 set last year. Connecticut led all BIG EAST teams with 10 players drafted, while Pittsburgh had four players selected on the final day.
For the first time in the history of the conference, three BIG EAST players were selected in the first round. Connecticut junior outfielder George Springer was taken 11th overall by the Houston Astros, while junior teammate Matt Barnes was picked 19th overall by the Boston Red Sox. St. John’s junior shortstop Joe Panik was taken 29th overall by the San Francisco Giants.
Springer and Barnes became the first pair of BIG EAST teammates to be selected in the first round of the MLB Draft since 1989 when Seton Hall’s Maurice (Mo) Vaughn and Kevin Morton also accomplished the feat.
After being taken 11th overall, Springer is the highest selection in the history of the Huskies and is tied for the second-highest selection in the history of the conference. Only Seton Hall’s Jason Grilli was taken higher when he was selected fourth overall in 1997. West Virginia’s Chris Enochs also was taken 11th in the 1997 draft. Springer is the 21st first-round pick in the history of the conference.
Barnes, the 2011 BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year, led the league in ERA (1.70), opposing batting average (.177), strikeouts (111) and wins (11). The junior tied the conference record with eight wins in BIG EAST play.
An All-BIG EAST First Team selection, Panik is the first St. John’s player to be taken in the first round since Craig Hansen in 2005. Panik led the conference with a .398 batting average, while also ranking first in runs scored (60) and on-base percentage (.509). The junior had 183 assists while committing just 14 errors on 283 total chances at shortstop.
Twenty-three players were taken on the second day. Connecticut had six players selected on the second day, including shortstop Nick Ahmed, who was the highest BIG EAST player drafted on day two with the 85th overall pick to the Atlanta Braves.
USF also five players drafted including four pitchers in righthanders Kevin Quackenbush, Jim Moran and Randy Fontanez, and lefty Junior Carlin. Infielder Jonathan Koscso was selected in the 29th round by the Tampa Bay Rays
Louisville had three players taken on day two, with righthander Tony Zych going in the fourth round to the Chicago Cubs, second baseman Ryan Wright selected in the fifth round by the Cincinnati Reds and righthander Derek Self taken in the 27th round by the Oakland Athletics.
Pittsburgh had four players selected on the final day of the draft. First baseman David Chester was taken in the 33rd round by the Boston Red Sox, outfielder John Schultz was selected in the 34th round by the Florida Marlins, infielder Travis Whitmore was drafted in the 35th round by the San Diego Padres and the St. Louis Cardinals took righthander Corey Baker in the 39th round.
Here is a look at the BIG EAST players taken in the 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft:
Rd/Pk. Player, Position, School Team
1/11 George Springer, OF, Connecticut Houston Astros
1/19 Matt Barnes, RHP, Connecticut Boston Red Sox
1/29 Joe Panik, SS, St. John’s San Francisco Giants
2/85 Nick Ahmed, SS, Connecticut Atlanta Braves
4/129 Tony Zych, RHP, Louisville Chicago Cubs
4/145 Kyle McMyne, RHP, Villanova Cincinnati Reds
5/175 Ryan Wright, 2B, Louisville Cincinnati Reds
7/217 Brian Dupra, RHP, Notre Dame Washington Nationals
7/231 Kevan Smith, C, Pittsburgh Chicago White Sox
7/237 Raymond Black, RHP, Pittsburgh San Francisco Giants
8/263 Kevin Quackenbush, RHP, USF San Diego Padres
17/519 John Andreoli, OF, Connecticut Chicago Cubs
18/553 Greg Nappo, LHP, Connecticut Florida Marlins
18/565 Jim Moran, RHP, USF Cincinnati Reds
19/591 Kevin Vance, RHP, Connecticut Chicago White Sox
20/615 Junior Carlin, LHP, USF Los Angeles Angels
20/625 Dan Jensen, RHP, Cincinnati Cincinnati Reds
21/633 Joe DiRocco, RHP, Seton Hall Seattle Mariners
21/641 Mike Nemeth, 1B, Connecticut Milwaukee Brewers
25/757 Erick Fernandez, C, Georgetown Washington Nationals
25/773 Paul Karmas, 1B, St. John’s San Diego Padres
26/801 Grant Buckner, SS, West Virginia Chicago White Sox
27/822 Randy Fontanez, RHP, USF New York Mets
27/826 Derek Self, RHP, Louisville Oakland Athletics
29/900 Jonathan Koscso, IF, USF Tampa Bay Rays
30/927 David Fischer, RHP, Connecticut San Francisco Giants
31/948 Sam Mende, IF, USF Colorado Rockies
33/1012 David Chester, 1B, Pittsburgh Boston Red Sox
34/1033 John Schultz, OF, Pittsburgh Florida Marlins
35/1061 Doug Elliott, C, Connecticut Milwaukee Brewers
35/1073 Travis Whitmore, IF, Pittsburgh San Diego Padres
37/1116 Matt Wessinger, IF, St. John’s Kansas City Royals
37/1141 Michael Nastold, RHP, Louisville Philadelphia Phillies
39/1172 Rand Ravnaas, OF, Georgetown Pittsburgh Pirates
39/1181 Elliot Glynn, LHP, Connecticut Milwaukee Brewers
39/1195 Justin Amlung, RHP, Louisville Cincinnati Reds
44/1348 Cole Johnson, RHP, Notre Dame Minnesota Twins
45/1365 Matthew Scioscia, C, Notre Dame Los Angeles Angels
48/1451 Mike Francisco, LHP, Villanova Milwaukee Brewers
49/1484 JJ Ethel, C, Louisville Los Angeles Dodgers
49/1490 Corey Baker, RHP, Pittsburgh St. Louis Cardinals