The 2019 MLB Draft last week saw future stars selected to join the competition to play on baseball’s greatest stage.
St. John’s did not hear any players called on the first day, June 3rd; the Baltimore Orioles selected C Adley Rutschman from Oregon State with the first overall pick. But St. John’s stellar pitching staff had a quartet of players picked from the junior class.
As juniors, each has an opportunity to return for a senior season instead of moving on to the minors.
Gavin Hollowell, RHP, 6’7”
On Tuesday the 3rd to 10th rounds selections were made by teams, and Gavin Hollowell was the first Red Storm player off the board. Hollowell was selected in the 6th round, pick 189 to the Colorado Rockies.
Hollowell, a junior, was the primary closer for the Red Storm this season with nine saves in 21 appearances this year. Though Hollowell’s ERA was 4.23 this year in 38.1 innings, he made up for it with his pitch control (48/15 strikeout to walk ratio) and was better in Big East play, lowering the ERA to 2.45 against league foes.
Hollowell is a junior, and could choose to return to St. John’s.
3 more Johnnies, all pitchers, were selected on the final day of the draft in the 11th-40th rounds.
Sean Mooney, RHP, 6’1”
The first Johnny to get drafted on the day was New Jersey’s Sean Mooney, a starting pitcher who was selected in the 12th round for pick 359 to the Minnesota Twins.
Mooney, who recently had Tommy John surgery, got off to a rough start but finished the season 2-1 as a starter with a 2.17 ERA over 49.2 innings pitched.
Mooney averaged over 1.1 strikeouts per inning this season. A well-decorated pitcher, Mooney says he will sign with the club from the Twin Cities. One of the best pitchers in the Big East and in collegiate baseball, Mooney’s control (57 strikeouts to 28 walks this season; 104 strikeouts to 28 walks last season) is an intriguing skill for the Twins.
Joe LaSorsa, LHP, 6’5”
Next to get drafted by a Major League Baseball club was P Joe LaSorsa in the 18th round, pick 548, to the Tampa Bay Rays.
Arguably the best pitcher in the Johnnies’ rotation this year, LaSorsa pitched 86.2 innings in 15 outings and managed to maintain a rotation-low 1.66 ERA. LaSorsa was able to keep baserunners to a minimum, allowing only 95 this season.
LaSorsa has the potential to offer depth to the up and coming Tampa Bay Rays team looking to compete in a young and talented AL East.
Jeff Belge, LHP, 6’5”
The final pick from St. John’s, P Jeff Belge, was drafted 3 picks later at 551 to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 18th round. Like LaSorsa, Belge had 15 starts but posted a 5.25 ERA against the same opponents. Belge’s ERA is slightly skewed from his Big East Tournament start, where it jumped from 4.18 to 5.25 after just one inning.
Belge, who is legally blind in one eye, delivered the strikeouts, with 73 in only 61.2 innings pitched. With the ability to fool hitters, Belge has a high ceiling in baseball that he can reach with development in the Dodgers organization, unless he chooses to return for his senior season at St. John’s.
This year’s draft class from St. John’s included three players from the starting rotation. Next season’s squad will have large cleats to fill, rebuilding behind rising sophomore Ian Murphy (headlining next year’s rotation) as well as LF Mike Antico returning for his senior season.