June 9, 2014
NEW YORK - Ten current or recently former BIG EAST baseball student-athletes had their names called at the 2014 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft over the weekend, with six of those coming from either Creighton or Seton Hall.
The Bluejays and Pirates had three players selected each, while Butler, St. John's, Villanova and Xavier had one draftee apiece.
Seton Hall's Josh Prevost was the first BIG EAST player selected. He was taken in the fifth round, 145th overall by the New York Mets. Prevost was the BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year and a unanimous first-team All-BIG EAST selection by the head coaches last month. He was dazzling at times during his senior season, pitching to a 12-2 mark with league bests in victories, ERA (1.62), shutouts (3), complete games (6) and strikeouts (111). He finished his career 17-4 with a 2.27 ERA.
The BIG EAST's second draft choice also came from Seton Hall. Junior Jose Lopez didn't throw a pitch during his junior year because of injury, but that didn't discourage the Cincinnati Reds from picking him in the 6th round and 185th overall on Friday. Lopez has pitched primarily out of the bullpen, with 39 career appearances and 11 starts. He's 6-5 with four saves and a 3.55 ERA with 94 strikeouts in 99 innings of work.
Creighton junior Jake Peter was drafted in the seventh round, 198th overall, by the Chicago White Sox. A versatile player, Peter starred at second base for the Bluejays en route to first-team All-BIG EAST honors. He established career highs with four home runs and 37 RBI while hitting .299 and slugging .431. He also provided Creighton a lift out of the bullpen, where he posted a 2-1 mark with one save and a 2.35 ERA in 7.2 innings over seven appearances.
The Kansas City Royals picked Butler junior lefty Eric Stout in the 13th round, 393rd overall. The first Bulldog drafted since 2002, Stout went 3-7 with a save in 14 appearances and 13 starts, tossing to a 6.78 ERA over 67.2 innings with 64 strikeouts. For his career thus far, Stout is averaging three strikeouts every four innings.
The Milwaukee Brewers made Villanova junior J.B. Kole the 236th overall pick. An eighth-round selection, the righty split time between the starting rotation and the bullpen en route to a 4-3 record in 13 appearances with a 5.12 ERA. He struck out 36 batters in 38.2 innings of work. Kole is 5-5 with two saves and a 7.93 ERA in 37 career appearances.
Creighton senior outfielder Mike Gerber was drafted in the 15th round, 460th overall, by the Detroit Tigers. The seven head coaches' selection as the BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year in January, Gerber set career bests with 11 home runs and 49 RBI in his last year in Omaha. In 50 games, he hit .274 while slugging .500 and adding 10 doubles and two triples to his resume. He was a career .278 hitting for the Bluejays with 27 home runs and 139 RBI in 713 at bats.
St. John's senior righthander James Lomangino was drafted last year by the Oakland A's, but he elected to return to school and earned first-team All-BIG EAST accolades with a 6-5 mark and a 3.65 ERA in 91.1 innings over 15 starts. He fanned 85 batters for the second season in a row, and finished with 208 during his three-year career in Queens. Lomangino was selected in the 18th round by the Colorado Rockies (533rd overall).
Seton Hall's third draftee was junior righty Conor Krauss, picked in the 20th round (605th overall) by the Cincinnati Reds. Krauss pitched primarily as a reliever but did pitch as a starter in four of his 18 appearances this spring. He went 1-1 with a career-best 3.67 ERA with four saves to go with 31 strikeouts over 27 innings.
Xavier senior Vinny Nittoli was chosen in the 25th round, 741st overall, by the Seattle Mariners. Another one of the BIG EAST's most versatile players, Nittoli was both an outfielder and a righty pitcher, and he achieved his greatest success, arguably, on the mound. He posted a 6-4 record in 14 starts in 2014 with a 2.38 ERA in 87 innings and 66 strikeouts. He also accumulated 121 at bats as an outfielder and hit .273 with four homers and 19 RBI with a .438 slugging percentage.
Creighton senior Bryan Sova was taken in the 25th round, 742nd overall, by the Philadelphia Phillies. Primarily a closer during the entirety of his two-year Creighton career, Sova proved his versatility when he tossed a complete game in his first career start during the last regular-season series at Xavier and went nine innings in the BIG EAST Tournament in a suspended-game victory against Seton Hall. He finished the year 6-1 with nine saves and a 2.09 ERA over 60.1 innings. For his career, Sova went 7-3 with 13 saves and a 2.18 ERA.
The deadline for MLB teams to sign drafted players is July 15. In the event any of the four BIG EAST juniors do not sign with their clubs by the deadline, they'll be eligible for the 2015 draft but cannot be selected by the same team without their consent.
2014 BIG EAST Baseball First-Year Player Draft Selections
Eric Stout, Jr., Butler, Kansas City Royals (13th round, 393rd overall)
Jake Peter, Jr., Creighton, Chicago White Sox (7th round, 198th overall)
Mike Gerber, Sr., Creighton, Detroit Tigers (15th round, 460th overall)
Bryan Sova, Sr., Creighton, Philadelphia Phillies (25th round, 742nd overall)
Josh Prevost, Sr., Seton Hall, New York Mets (5th round, 145th overall)
Jose Lopez, Jr., Seton Hall, Cincinnati Reds (6th round, 185th overall)
Conor Krauss, Jr., Seton Hall, Cincinnati Reds (20th round, 605th overall)
James Lomangino, Sr., St. John's, Colorado Rockies (18th round, 533rd overall)
J.B. Kole, Jr., Villanova, Milwaukee Brewers (8th round, 236th overall)
Vinny Nittoli, Xavier, Sr., Seattle Mariners (25th round, 741st overall)