Top high school, college stars have names called in MLB Draft
Coastal had one player drafted through the first two days of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, consisting of 10 rounds.
There was a run on Chanticleers on the third day, however, and six more players were selected on Wednesday in rounds 11 through 40.
The seven CCU players selected matches the most ever taken in a single draft, tying the seven taken from the program in both 2010 and 2007.
Six of the players have one year of eligibility remaining, and at least one has confirmed he will bypass that year and sign a professional contract.
Left-handed pitcher Anthony Veneziano was the first to go. The Kansas City Royals selected Veneziano, who just completed his junior year, with the third pick of the 10th round (279th overall) on the second day of the draft Tuesday.
Veneziano said Wednesday he will sign and is expected to receive a signing bonus between $125,000 and $150,000. He said he will leave Friday for a two-week rookie mini-camp in Arizona.
“Now’s the time to go and start my professional career,” Veneziano said. “It’s awesome. I knew coming in I was going to get drafted in the second day I just didn’t know what round, but being drafted in the 10th round is a great opportunity.”
Senior first baseman Zach Biermann was the only senior taken who has expended his eligibility. He was picked in the 23rd round by the Houston Astros.
The Pittsburgh Pirates selected second baseman Cory Wood in the 19th round, the Detroit Tigers took shortstop Scott McKeon in the 21st round, the Pirates took outfielder Jake Wright in the 32nd round, the Los Angeles Angels took infielder Keaton Weisz in the 36th round and the St. Louis Cardinals took catcher Kyle Skeels in the 36th round. They all have a year of eligibility remaining.
Veneziano went 5-3 with a 4.73 ERA while striking out 85 batters in 78 innings in 2018-19, and opponents batted .259 against him. His fastball velocity was in the low 90s to mid-90s late in the season and he also throws a two-seam fastball, slider and changeup.
The Hackettstown, N.J., native, who is 6-foot-5 and 205 pounds, appeared in 21 games this past season with 14 starts, returning to the starting rotation in mid-March for Coastal’s push to the Sun Belt Conference Championship title and berth in the NCAA Atlanta Regional.
In his CCU career, Veneziano is 14-6 with a 5.09 ERA over 49 appearances, including 35 starts. He has totaled 187 strikeouts and 89 walks over 176 2/3 innings and has held opponents to a .258 batting average.
Veneziano is the 31st Coastal player to be selected in the first 10 rounds of the MLB draft in program history. The Chants have had at least one player selected every year since 1997 and a player chosen in the first 10 rounds for the 12 consecutive years dating back to 2008.
“I learned a lot and had a lot of really good experiences,” Veneziano said of his three years at CCU. “I’m happy I chose to go to school at Coastal because it helped me improve as a person and player.”
Four of the five CCU position players who were drafted had at least a .313 batting average for one of the most prolific offenses in the country, while the other player missed most of the season because of injuries.
_ Biermann: The 706th overall pick, Biermann batted .313 this past season with 18 home runs, 11 doubles, 82 RBIs and 54 runs scored, while posting a .564 slugging percentage and a .399 on-base percentage. His 82 RBIs led the Sun Belt Conference and tied David Anderson for the most by a Chant in a single season, while his 18 home runs are tied for the 10th most in CCU’s single-season record book.
Biermann ranked second in the Sun Belt in hits (81) and home runs (18), third in total bases (146), fourth in sacrifice flies (7), ninth in slugging percentage (.564) and 10th in runs scored (54).
_ Wood: The 574th pick, Wood led the team and the Sun Belt in walks with 60 out of his leadoff spot, which also ranked in the top 10 nationally and are the third most in a season in CCU history. He was also first in the conference in runs scored with 68 and in runs per game at 1.13 per contest. The second baseman was second in the league in doubles (20), tied for third in stolen bases (20) and fourth in on-base percentage (.462).
He hit .315 with two home runs, a triple and 30 RBIs on the season with 73 hits, which was fourth on the team. He posted a .462 on-base percentage and was 20 for 23 in stolen base attempts.
_ McKeon: The 622nd pick, McKeon led the team and the Sun Belt in base hits with 87 in his only season with the team, which is tied for 18th all-time in CCU’s single-season history. He hit .340, which was second on the team, with three home runs, a team-high five triples, 18 doubles, 39 RBIs and 50 runs scored. He also posted a .484 slugging percentage and a .399 on-base percentage while starting all 63 games at shortstop and ended the season on a 12-game hitting streak.
_ Wright: The 964th pick, Wright was tabbed the 2019 Sun Belt Newcomer of the Year after joining CCU from Seminole State College. He was also named All-Sun Belt second team, Sun Belt All-Tournament team and NCAA Atlanta Regional All-Tournament team. He led the team and was second in the Sun Belt in hitting at .355, led the Sun Belt in on-base percentage at .516 and was second in the league in walks with 45. He had 11 home runs, two triples, eight doubles, 49 RBIs, 57 runs scored, a .601 slugging percentage.
_ Weisz: The 1,081st pick, Weisz hit .187 with three home runs, a triple, 13 RBIs and 18 runs scored in just 20 games with various injuries. The infielder is known for his glove and throwing arm, and his absence late in the season was noticeable. He transferring from Auburn in 2017. In his two years at CCU, the California native has hit .223 with six home runs, three triples, 11 doubles, 46 RBIs, 46 runs scored and eight steals in nine attempts.
_ Skeels: The 1,085th selection, Skeels was a 2019 Buster Posey Award Watch List member, a 2019 All-Sun Belt second team selection and 2019 Sun Belt All-Tournament team selection. The 6-2, 250-pound catcher started 53 games this season, hit .319 with 10 home runs, 14 doubles, 55 RBIs and 50 runs scored. He also posted a .550 slugging percentage and a .446 on-base percentage while tallying a team-high eight sacrifice flies.