IU’s Dunham signs free-agent deal with Yankees

The 2020 Major League Baseball Draft was shortened to five rounds due to the coronavirus, limiting the opportunities for a player like Indiana’s Elijah Dunham to be drafted.

But Dunham still got his opportunity on Wednesday, when he signed a free-agent contract with the New York Yankees.

The 22-year-old junior outfielder announced his decision via Twitter.

“After much consideration of what is best for my baseball career, I have decided to sign a deal with the New York Yankees,” Dunham wrote. “It’s time for me to take my opportunity and bet on myself. I’m extremely confident in my abilities and know the Yankees can continue to develop them at the highest level.

“I first want to think my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for blessing me with this chance. Also a huge thanks to Coach Mercer, the unbelievable staff, and teammates at IU who have helped me come to this point. I don’t know where I’d be without them. It’s time to get to work. #Romans4:4”

Dunham got off to a hot start this spring, batting .390 with 11 runs batted and a team-best seven doubles while also leading IU in on-base percentage at .493.

In 2019, Dunham was third team All-Big Ten for the Hoosiers, hitting .312 with 25 doubles, nine home runs and 48 RBIs while slugging .496 and posting an on-base percentage of .429 in 94 games and 75 starts.

The 6-foot, 213-pounder was ranked No. 39 on D1Baseball.com’s Top 100 hitter list for 2019-20 and was drafted in the 40th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2019 MLB Draft.

He likely would’ve been selected in the first 10 rounds, perhaps higher had there been a full college baseball season in 2020.