June 9, 2014
COLUMBIA, Mo.- The Missouri baseball team had two pitchers drafted in last week's MLB First Year Player Draft. The Oakland Athletics selected Tiger ace Brett Graves in the third round and closer Keaton Steele was drafted in the eighth round by the Minnesota Twins. The two Tigers continued a long lineage of Tiger pitchers improving their draft stock while at Mizzou. Out of high school, Brett Graves was picked in the 26th round. Steele was picked in the 40th round out of high school and 29th round out of junior college.
Graves went 3-6 with a 3.87 ERA in 14 starts over 93 innings this season for the Tigers. Keaton Steele was the closer for the Tigers this season and picked up nine saves with a 3.07 ERA.
In 2013, the Chicago Cubs drafted Rob Zastryzny in the second round. Zastryzny was not drafted out of high school, despite posting a career record 26-4 with 299 strikeouts and a 0.71 ERA. He is currently pitching with the Daytona Cubs, the Cubs Class A advanced affiliate. The former Tiger has started 10 games this season. While at Mizzou, Zastryzny struck out 228 batters in 287 innings with a 3.83 ERA.
The San Diego Padres chose Matt Stites in the 17th round in 2011, 16 rounds before we was drafted in the 33rd round in 2010 out of junior college. During his one season at Mizzou, Stites started 15 games and posted a 3.72 ERA. He is currently the closer for the Reno Aces, the Arizona Diamondbacks Triple-A affiliate. Since being called up to Reno, Stites has 9 saves over 12.2 innings, with 14 strikeouts and a 2.13 ERA.
In the 14th round of the 2010 draft, the Texas Rangers drafted Nick Tepesch. Out of high school, he was selected in the 33rd round. After three years at Mizzou, Tepesch's record was 13-14 in 55 appearances, including 30 starts. In 2010, he was 6-6 with a 4.20 ERA in 15 starts. Nick made his major league debut with the Rangers on April 9th, 2013. The Rangers called Nick up a month and a half into the 2014 season and he has made five starts this season. He is currently 2-2 with a 4.91 ERA.
In 2009, the Minnesota Twins selected Kyle Gibson in the 1st round. He was drafted in the 36th round out of high school. Gibson went 28-10 in his career at Mizzou, started 29 games and posted a 3.66 ERA. In his last year, he went 11-3 in 15 starts over 106.2 innings, with 131 strikeouts and a 3.21 ERA. Gibson made his debut with the Twins on June 29th, 2013. He made the Twins 25-man roster out of spring training this season and has made 12 starts so far this season. He is 5-5 with a 3.91 ERA over 69 innings pitched.
Aaron Crow was drafted in the first round in 2008 and 2009 after not being drafted after high school. The Kansas City Royals picked him in 2009 after a spectacular career at Missouri. In his three years at Missouri, Crow went 23-8 in 46 starts, with a 3.27 ERA over 302.2 innings pitched and 277 strikeouts. In 2008, Crow was a perfect 13-0 in 15 starts with a 2.35 ERA and 127 strikeouts. Opponents hit a mere .217 against Crow that season. He is now is his fourth season with the Kansas City Royals. This season he has appeared in 30 games out of the bullpen, posting a 3-1 record with a 2.60 ERA.
The Detroit Tigers made Max Scherzer their first round pick in 2006. He was drafted in the 43rd round after high school. In his two seasons at Mizzou, Scherzer went 16-7 in 29 starts, posting a 2.03 ERA. He is now his seventh season with the Detroit Tigers and won the Cy Young Award, given to the league's best pitcher in 2013. The Mizzou alum is a Cy Young hopeful again this season, posting a 7-2 record in 13 starts with a 3.38 ERA. He is currently ranked fourth in the American League in strikeouts with 98.
Mizzou's pitchers have a proven track record of improving their draft stock while at Columbia and have set the bar high for future Tigers who make their way to Taylor Stadium.
For all the latest on Mizzou baseball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MizzouBaseball.
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