BIG EAST Sets Record with 40 Players Taken in MLB First-Year Player Draft

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 nine 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
39/1195     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

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