Hoosiers see 3 selected on draft’s final day #iubase

Jake Kelzer has been through this before.

He’s familiar with the draft buildup, along with the watching and the waiting. Even as a veteran participant of the last three Major League Baseball First-Year Player Drafts, Kelzer finds a new level of excitement in the process every June.

“It’s probably more exciting every year just because your childhood dream is coming true,” he said.

Kelzer realized that dream once again on Saturday, going to the Philadelphia Phillies in the 18th round. He was one of four Hoosiers selected during the three-day, 40-round draft, joining fellow pitchers Caleb Baragar, who went to the San Francisco Giants in Friday’s ninth round, and Kyle Hart, selected by the Boston Red Sox in the 19th round. Outfielder Craig Dedelow was also picked on Saturday, going to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 34th round.

In addition to its current players, Indiana saw a pair of signees, pitcher Skylar Szynski and outfielder Jack Suwinski, come off the board this weekend. The Hoosiers have now produced 18 draft picks in the last four years.

In Kelzer’s case, the Bloomington South product knew the Phillies were among the teams interested in his right arm. He had spoken with the team as recently as last week, a conversation that followed other talks with the club throughout the season.

“I was on the couch chilling with some teammates, just watching the draft tracker,” Kelzer said. “Then, out of the blue, it just happened. i was ecstatic and started streaming and yelling. I didn’t want to think about it too much and stress myself out. I just wanted to see how the cards played and hopefully they would play in my favor. They did.”

Kelzer was IU’s highest draft pick in 2015 when the Chicago Cubs took him in the 14th round. He was also selected in the 22nd round by the New York Yankees in 2014.

Working out of the back-end of IU’s bullpen, Kelzer struck out 48 batters in 41 innings, walking only 12 and holding opponents to a .171 average. He was more consistent in a defined role after working between the bullpen and weekend rotation in 2015. After posting a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 1.84 last spring, Kelzer improved that figure to 4.00 this season while working primarily off his low-to-mid 90s fastball and breaking ball.

“I felt like last year I was still trying to find out what kind of pitcher I was,” Kelzer said. “I was over-thinking the game and letting the game get to me, whereas this year I feel like I found my identity on the mound. I feel like I matured a lot. I didn’t let the game get too big, my head didn’t get too big and I really worked hard mechanically to keep things consistent. I worked with the coaches and everything seemed to click toward the end of the year. It was an amazing ride.”

Hart is coming off an outstanding senior season as IU’s Friday starter. He led the Big Ten with 10 wins, while finishing seventh among conference pitchers in strikeouts (79) and innings pitched (98 1/3). A First Team All-Big Ten selection, Hart often set the tone for Indiana’s weekend success in 2016, and his 31 career wins rank second in IU history.

The Cincinnati native is two years removed from Tommy John surgery, which erased the majority of his 2014 season. Hart bounced back in 2015, leading IU with a 1.21 ERA. Hart was one of the Big Ten’s top pitchers this spring, and his 237 career strikeouts rank fourth in IU history.

Dedelow, a Third Team All-Big Ten selection as a junior, has until July 15 to decide whether to sign with the Pirates or return for his senior season. The fact that he was drafted is a testament to his drive during the last two seasons.

Dedelow, who originally came to IU as a walk-on on a fall tryout basis, is a career .303 hitter with 31 doubles, six triples, 12 home runs and 81 RBIs at IU.

Suwinski, meanwhile, is regarded as one of the top left-handed high school hitters in the country. Should he opt to attend Indiana, Suwinski could add an immediate jolt to IU’s lineup.

“Scouts love Suwinski’s bat,” reads his scouting report on MLB.com. “He’s a strong left-handed hitter who uses the whole field with a good approach at the plate and nice bat speed. The 6-foot-2, 201-pound outfielder projects to end up in right field.”