MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Now that he owns Jedd Gyorko’s program record for career doubles, Darius Hill can aim for a higher goal — becoming one of Gyorko’s on-field rivals.
Hill was one of six West Virginia baseball players taken on the third and final day of the Major League Baseball draft, going to the Chicago Cubs in the 20th round. Gyorko is in his fourth year with the rival St. Louis Cardinals.
A total of eight Mountaineers were selected in this year’s draft, marking a new program record. Alek Manoah was taken 11th overall by Toronto, and catcher Ivan Gonzalez went to the Chicago White Sox in the eighth round.
“I am super happy for all eight of our guys drafted this week,” WVU coach Randy Mazey said in a school release. “It’s fun to be able to watch all of these guys live out their dreams. We had a great season because we have great players, and I’m happy to see the great years these guys had be recognized.”
Unlike his teammates who were taken on Day 3, Hill knows his future will start with the Cubs organization this summer. The other five players taken Wednesday face a decision whether to return to the Mountaineers for their senior seasons.
The toughest decisions will belong to pitchers Nick Snyder and Kade Strowd. Snyder, a lefty who worked his way from starting midweek games to being West Virginia’s No. 1 pitcher in the postseason, was taken by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 11th round. One round later, the right-handed Strowd was selected by the Baltimore Orioles.
Both hurlers could roll the dice and try to improve their draft stock next season — a pick in the first 10 rounds comes with guaranteed money. However, teams have the ability to pool extra money for draftees taken in later rounds if they can get some of their Top 10 picks to agree to sign under their fully-allotted salary slot. The Diamondbacks have an MLB-high $16 million in bonus pool money with which to sign their Top 10 draftees this year.
Strowd, who was West Virginia’s Sunday starter this season, could one day join former Mountaineer John Means in Baltimore. Means, an 11th-round pick in 2014, is in the Orioles starting rotation.
Center fielder Brandon White, who was taken by the Los Angeles Angels in the 17th round, is in a position where the decision to come back or go pro may depend on if the Angels can offer additional money.
Catcher Chase Illig was taken by the Yankees in the 29th round. Illig did not play this season due to injury. He batted .206 as a sophomore in 2018.
Relief pitcher Sam Kessler, a 34th-round pick of the Detroit Tigers, is in a draft position where returning to West Virginia next season might have the most upside.
A future Mountaineer was also taken in the 22nd round. Terence Doston, who is signed to play both football and baseball at West Virginia, was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Doston is expected to stay with West Virginia over going pro.
Fellow signee Daniel Batcher, a left-handed pitcher from Lakeland, Fla., was drafted by Toronto in the 33rd round. Matt McCormick, a catcher from Orland Park, Ill., was taken by the Reds in the 40th round. Both are likely to arrive on campus.