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College | Story | 6/12/2019

PGCBL Sees 37 Alums Drafted

Blake Dowson        
Photo: Matt Gorski (Rebecca Mehling/Indiana Athletics)
When the Pittsburgh Pirates selected Indiana’s Matthew Gorski in the second round of the MLB Draft on June 3 with the 57th overall pick, the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League was just getting started.

In total, 37 PGCBL alumni were selected in the 2019 Draft, a solid showing for a league that continues to build momentum in the recruiting process each summer.

Gorski, who was named Second-Team All-Big Ten this season after hitting .271 with 12 home runs, knocking in 46 RBI, swiping 18 bases and leading the Hoosiers to a regular season conference title, was a member of the 2017 Amsterdam Mohawks, a team that is accumulating quite the resume at this point.

“I thought he was the guy on that team most likely to make it to the Big Leagues,” Amsterdam President and General Manager Brian Spagnola said. “He’s just got a skillset that’s God-given. He’s 6-foot-4, runs a 6.4 [second] 60 [yard dash], got arm strength, accuracy, power. Plus he’s got great makeup. I knew he would be a guy in the draft.”

Along with Gorski, 10 other members of the 2017 Mohawk team heard their name called in the draft this June. Gorski was one of the leaders of that Mohawk team, hitting .347 in 23 games. Will Holland, who was selected in the 5th round out of Auburn by the Minnesota Twins, hit .298 in 31 games for the Mohawks.

In total, the Mohawks saw 21 former players get drafted, outpacing the rest of the league.

“We’re really proud of that [number],” Spagnola said. “We’re really proud that we’re a part of those guys’ process. Obviously the first thing it means is that we’re getting good players. Coaches are happy with the guys’ experiences here and are sending us the right guys…We like to think we help them get better. But we’re really excited about that big of a number.”

The pitching staff of that 2017 team really impressed that summer, and again in the draft this June. Four guys who started at least five games on the bump for Amsterdam – Andrew Saalfrank (Indiana), Ben Anderson (Binghamton), Morgan McSweeney (Wake Forest), and Joe LaSorsa (St. Johns) – were drafted in the first 18 rounds. Thomas Lane (Boston College), who was the ace of the staff that summer with a 2.30 ERA over nine starts and 43 innings, signed as a free agent with the Cincinnati Reds as soon as the draft was finished.

“Thomas was a little raw, even at that point,” Spagnola said. “He was figuring out command just like a lot of young guys with great arms do when they’re that age…From what I understand he had a huge year this year and really figured things out. The arm and the size have always been there, so it’s great to see him get an opportunity.”

The Mohawks weren’t the only team to see a number of former players drafted, as Albany saw four Dutchmen from years past – and one current – get their names called.
Georgetown’s Jeremiah Burke and Stony Brook’s Nick Grande, who played in Albany in 2017 and 2018, respectively, were both drafted in the 17th round this year.

Burke logged 85 innings for the Hoyas this spring and tallied 86 punch outs, while only allowing 25 walks. Grande starred for Stony Brook this season, earning First-Team All-American East for his .377 average, 78 hits, and 32 stolen bases.

“It’s a benchmark of the quality of the players that we bring in,” Albany Vice President and General Manager Jason Brinkman said of the five Dutchmen drafted. “A lot of it is the relationships you build with different coaches and programs. Whether that be Louisville, Ole Miss, or now we’ve developed strong relationships with Virginia and Vanderbilt and others. When we bring guys in, hopefully we send them back to their programs as better ball players. I think those programs see that and put trust in us and keep sending players back to us.”

Parker Noland, a high school senior from Knoxville, Tenn. who signed on to play with the Dutchmen this summer, was also drafted in the 31st round of the draft. Noland, an infielder who is committed to play his college ball at Vanderbilt, is fulfilling his promise to Albany and the Commodores, and just played his first game for Albany this week.

The Elmira Pioneers and Utica Blue Sox both had four alums selected in the draft, and the group of Adirondack, Newark, and Oneonta each had one former player drafted.

Xavier’s Conor Grammes, who played for Elmira in 2017, was drafted in the fifth round by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Grammes, who was a two-way player for the Musketeers, was selected as a pitcher after accumulating a 3.95 ERA over 68 1/3 innings this season, along with 79 strikeouts. He also hit .330 and slugged .524 with eight home runs at the plate, earning a First-Team All-Big East nod in the process.

Grammes led the Pioneers at the plate during the summer of 2017, hitting .377 over 138 at-bats and collecting 36 RBI.
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