The Ohio State baseball team proved in the 2016 MLB First-Year Player draft that the school can produce more than just professional football players.
Following the conclusion of the three-day, 40-round draft, Ohio State led the Big Ten with six players taken, the highest total of Buckeye players taken in the draft since six went in the 1998 draft.
The first player taken in the draft from Ohio State was junior left fielder Ronnie Dawson. Many viewed Dawson to be one of the premier power/speed threats among college hitters and as one of the best bats in the Big Ten conference. The Buckeyes’ left fielder slashed .331/.419/.611 with 13 home runs, was successful on 21 out of 25 stolen base attempts and was named an All-American by Baseball America for the second time in his career in a very successful 2016 campaign. Dawson ranked in the Top-10 in the Big Ten in 10 categories, including ranking first in total bases (157) and doubles (25).
The highest Buckeye taken in the draft since right-handed pitcher Alex Wimmers was taken by the Minnesota Twins in the first round of the 2010 MLB Draft with the 21st overall pick, Dawson will join last year’s 439th overall pick, Pat Porter, as Buckeye outfielders drafted by the Houston Astros.
The next player taken from the Buckeyes was junior center fielder Troy Montgomery. The Los Angeles Angels took him in the eighth round with the 246th overall pick. Montgomery slashed .297/.423/.466 with eight home runs and 21 stolen bases in 28 attempts. One of the most promising aspects of Montgomery’s game has been not only his power/speed combination, but his plate discipline. He was one of only two Buckeyes in the starting lineup who walked more than he struck out. Montgomery’s 50 walks on the season was most among all Ohio State hitters and second most among all Big Ten players.
There was a bit of a gap between Montgomery and the next Buckeye selected, but eleven rounds after Ohio State’s center fielder was selected, junior first baseman Jacob Bosiokovic heard his name called. In the 19th round with the 560th overall pick, the Colorado Rockies selected Bosiokovic who put together a very promising season for Ohio State. “Bosi” slashed .275/.347/.488 with 11 home runs.
The only concerning statistic with Bosiokovic is his tendency to swing and miss as he led the team and Big Ten with 73 strikeouts. However, his power has been something to behold this season as he was tied for fourth in the Big Ten in home runs and 14th in slugging percentage. The first baseman could eventually call Coors Field in Colorado his home. Coors Field is a power hitter’s paradise, ranked first by Fangraphs Park Factors as the easiest place to hit home runs in 2015.
Shortly after Bosiokovic was taken in the draft, senior left-handed reliever Michael Horejsei was taken by the Chicago White Sox in the 21st round with the 626th overall pick. One of the most trusted relievers out of the bullpen, Horejsei was called on to make 34 appearances (second only to redshirt sophomore reliever Seth Kinker, both on the team and in the Big Ten). In those 34 outings, the southpaw was extremely effective, providing the Buckeyes with 31 innings in which he owned a 2.61 ERA, struck out 39 batters, walked only nine and gave up only 17 hits.
Next up for the Buckeyes was senior co-captain Nick Sergakis. The Buckeyes’ third baseman was selected by the New York Mets in the 23rd round with the 700th overall pick. Sergakis owned the highest batting average on the team at .332 (among qualifying hitters), and was second on the team in hits with 79. He also flashed some pop with 10 home runs and some speed with 15 stolen bases in 17 attempts.
The final Buckeye taken in the draft was junior left-handed pitcher Tanner Tully. Tully was taken by the Cleveland Indians with the 782nd overall pick during the 26th round. The Friday night starter for the Scarlet and Gray was one of the best pitchers in the Big Ten. Tully’s 2.59 ERA was eighth best in the Big Ten as was his 78 strikeouts. He also led the Big Ten in innings pitched (107.2) and finished second in wins with eight on the season.