Three Hokies drafted in latest MLB draft

Photo courtesy of VT Athletics

On the final day of the 2019 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, three Virginia Tech players heard their names called, which extends the Hokies’ streak of at least two players selected in the MLB draft to 11 consecutive years. The three draftees are also the most since four Hokies were taken in the 2015 draft.

After two days of waiting, outfielder Kerry Carpenter was the first Hokie chosen on day three, selected by the Detroit Tigers in the 19th round, while pitcher Nic Enright was taken just 48 picks later, in the 20th round by the Cleveland Indians. Pitcher Jack Dellinger closed out Tech’s 2019 draft class with his selection by the Tigers, as well, in the 32nd round.

Carpenter, a junior-college transfer from St. John’s River and a native of Eustis, Florida, was the third-ever Tech player selected by the Tigers, but the highest drafted player by the organization. Joe Mantiply (2013) was taken in the 23rd round back in 2013, while Ian Ostlund was a 34th rounder in 2001.

In 2019, Carpenter was the only Tech player to start all 53 games, and all were in right field. He was the only Hokie to reach double digits in multi-hit (19), multi-RBI (10) and multi-run scoring games (11), while leading the program in each. He also led the team in doubles (13), home runs (10), total bases (101), runs (44), RBI (45) and tied for the team-lead in outfield assists (3) while committing just one error for a .989 fielding percentage.

Enright, a redshirt-junior from Richmond, Virginia, is just the second Tech player selected by the Indians, joining Wyatt Toregas, who was a 24th-round choice during the 2004 draft. Enright is the 13th player at Tech to be drafted out of high school and then chosen as a Hokie, as he was a New York Mets’ selection in the 2015 MLB draft.

In 2019, Enright appeared in 21 games, which included five starts. He posted a 3.93 ERA in 50.1 innings pitched, struck out 63 batters (second-most on the team), walked 17 and had a 1-3 record with one save. He led the team with a .210 opponents’ batting average (min. 5 IP), while his .219 opp./BA in ACC-only games led the team and was seventh in the league. He retired 15-of-16 first batters faced in relief outings for a team-best 93.8 percentage and stranded three-of-16 inherited runners for an 81.3 held percentage, second-best among those who inherited more than 10.

Dellinger, a junior-college transfer from Chipola College and a native of Bellevue, Washington, was also taken by Tigers and marked the third time that two Hokies were taken by the same organization in the same draft. In 1983, Wayne King (40th) and Rick Knapp (41st) were chosen in back-to-back rounds by the Texas Rangers, while the Chicago Cubs selected both Mark Zagunis (3rd) and Brad Markey (19th) in the 2014 draft.

In 2019, Dellinger appeared in 22 games (fourth most on the team) with two starts. He posted a 5.81 ERA in 31.0 innings pitched, struck out 31 batters, walked 24 and had a 1-4 record with two saves, while combining on a team-high three shutouts. In 10 appearances out of the bullpen, he threw at least one inning without allowing a run and was second on the staff with nine relief appearances of at least 2.0 innings pitches. He inherited 15 runners of which two scored for an 86.7 held percentage, best among those who inherited more than 10.

Tech’s string of 11 straight years with multiple choices in the MLB draft is the longest stretch ever in program history. The longest prior to the current streak was a pair of three straight drafts with at least two picks – the 1981 through 1983 drafts and the 1988 through 1990 drafts.

In all, Tech has had multiple players chosen in 26 of the 54 years of the draft. Also, during its current run (since 2009), the Hokies have seen 31 different players chosen in the draft with 24 of them never being drafted prior to their arrival in Blacksburg, which included six straight before Enright’s selection this season.

In the 54 years of the MLB First-Year Player Draft, 79 Hokies have been chosen a total of 105 times, while overall, Tech has had 115 total draft choices.

–VT Athletics