June 11, 2013
COLUMBIA, Mo. - With the conclusion of the 2013 Major League Baseball Entry Draft over the weekend, two additional Tigers heard their names called in the draft, giving Mizzou a trio of draftees in 2013. Junior Jake Walsh (Plano, Texas) was selected with the final pick of the 34th round (1,036th overall) by the Washington Nationals while redshirt sophomore Keaton Steele (St. Joseph, Mo.) was picked as the eighth pick of the 40th round by the Kansas City Royals (1,194th overall). The two join Tiger junior Rob Zastryzny (Corpus Christi, Texas), who was drafted with the 41st overall pick by the Chicago Cubs in day one of the draft. The three Tiger draftees move the program's total to 68 since Mizzou head coach Tim Jamieson took the helm in 1996.
Walsh is a true success story after his selection over the weekend. As a freshman, Walsh was cut from the Mizzou team, opting to play for the club team on campus before working his way back onto the roster as a sophomore and becoming the Tigers' most reliable lefty out of the bullpen. Last season, Walsh led Mizzou with 30 appearances in 50 games while going 2-2 with a 4.19 ERA in 34.1 innings pitched. His 29 regular season appearances ranked third in the SEC and he appeared in a league-best 19 SEC games this season. Walsh also struck out 31 batters in his 34.1 innings.
Steele was arguably the top two-way player in the SEC this season, and the league's 14 coaches recognized that by naming him All-SEC First Team as a utility player. The Tiger righty led Mizzou with five wins on the mound, two saves and hit .276 at the dish with 24 RBIs and a team-high five homers. He was the only player in a power conference to lead his team in wins, saves and home runs this season. Steele was even better in SEC play, earning four of his five wins and both of his saves while hitting all five of his homers in league games. In SEC play, Steele led Mizzou in batting (.306), slugging (.542), homers (five) and on-base percentage (.435). He also had an ERA of 3.00 in league games and struck out 45 batters in 48.0 innings in SEC play.
Not only were his numbers as a two-way player remarkable, but he also earned a pair of SEC weekly honors during the regular season, being named SEC Pitcher of the Week following Mizzou's series with South Carolina and was then named SEC Player of the Week after doing it all in a series win at Georgia. He was the first player in 16 years to be named SEC Pitcher of the Week and Player of the Week in the same season.
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