Five current Blue Devils and future Duke Baseball commits were recently drafted by professional teams in the 2017 MLB Draft.
Major League Baseball recently held their draft of the top prospects for professional baseball, and several players associated with the Duke Baseball program made the list. Three current Blue Devils and two incoming recruits were selected this year in the MLB Draft.
The Blue Devils were led by in the draft by first baseman Justin Bellinger, who was picked No. 647 overall in the 22nd round by the Cincinnati Reds. Bellinger is a junior who has recorded a .259 batting average, 10 home runs, 22 doubles, three triples, a 67 RBI, and a .991 fielding percentage for his career. Unfortunately, he suffered a hand injury during Duke’s ACC Tournament run.
Later in the 22nd round, redshirt junior left-handed pitcher James Ziemba was drafted by the Los Angeles with the 655th pick. He’s coming off a career season recording 45 strikeouts in 48.1 innings. Ziemba improved his draft position from last season after receiving a 37th round pick in 2016.
Sophomore outfielder Jimmy Herron was drafted 932nd the 31st round by the New York Yankees. Herron is one out of three players to start all 58 games for Duke this past season. He starred offensively in his second season, leading the Blue Devils in batting average (.326), doubles (17), runs (53), hits (74), and stolen bases (17) to go along with five home runs.
Two incoming Duke freshmen were selected in the 38th round of the MLB Draft. Second baseman Will Hoyle was drafted with the 1,131st pick by the Oakland Athletics. Hoyle is a native of Durham and excelled at local Charles E. Jordan High School where he earned high school All-America honorable mention and national All-Region honors.
Several picks later, Duke signee Stevie Mann was picked 1145th overall by the Detroit Tigers. Mann is a talented outfielder from Detroit who won Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year for the state of Michigan, Athlete of the Year for Detroit, and Third Team Rawlings-Perfect Game All-America honors.
Each player drafted will have to decide whether to play collegiate baseball for Duke or join the professional ranks next season. Due to the low picks for these players, it’s most likely they will forgo the MLB and compete with the Blue Devils to help improve their draft stock.