6 Hoosiers selected on final day of MLB Amateur Draft #iubase

Indiana waited two days for the first Hoosier to come off the board in this week’s MLB Amateur Draft. By the end of the third and final day, this year’s draft turned out to be one of the most fruitful in IU program history.

Six Indiana players, along with two junior college signees, saw their names called during the final rounds Wednesday. That includes right-handed pitchers Jake Kelzer and Scott Effross, who were taken in the 14th and 15th rounds by the Chicago Cubs. Closer Ryan Halstead went to the San Francisco Giants in the 21st round, catcher Brad Hartong went to the Minnesota Twins in the 29th round, right-hander Christian Morris was selected by the New York Yankees in the 33rd round and right-handed reliever Luke Harrison was picked by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 35th round.

The six Hoosiers taken marked the most IU players drafted in a single year since 2009, when a school-record seven players were selected. Indiana also saw six players drafted in 1996.

Incoming junior college signees Alex Krupa and Travis Herrin were also drafted on Wednesday. Herrin, a right-hander from Wabash Valley College, went to the Los Angeles Angels in the 18th round, and Krupa, an outfielder from Iowa Western, went to the Cincinnati Reds in the 35th round. If those two, along with Kelzer, Effross and Morris, do not sign, they can play at IU next season.

The Cubs displayed a particular fondness for Hoosier arms, selecting Kelzer and Effross 30 picks apart early Wednesday afternoon.

Kelzer, a former Bloomington South standout, was selected by the New York Yankees in the 22nd round in 2014 but chose not to sign. Because he turned 21 years old during his draft month a year ago, Kelzer will be eligible for the draft as long as he remains at IU. He was selected with the No. 413 overall pick Wednesday after working to a 3.95 ERA over 17 appearances in 2015, including 11 starts. Over a team-high 73 innings, the 6-foot-8 right-hander allowed 65 hits, struck out 57 and walked 31. He held opposing batters to a .237 average while flashing a fastball in the low-to-mid 90s to complement a tough breaking ball. Kelzer earned his first save in the first game of a doublehealder with Ohio State on May 15, striking out a career-high seven batters in three innings. He was an All-Big Ten Freshman Team selection last season.

Effross could have been a candidate to be picked during the latter rounds on Day 2, but settled for a selection with the No. 443 overall pick. The right-hander has pitched in every role during his three seasons at Indiana, working as a starter and middle-, late-inning reliever in 2015. Effross appeared in 21 games, starting seven, while posting a 2.35 ERA. He scattered 50 hits over 61 1/3 innings, while striking out 51 and walking only nine. Opposing batters hit only .217 against the Ohio native. Effross also has a fastball that sits in the low-to-mid 90s, along with a changeup and a slider. Out of the bullpen in IU’s NCAA Tournament loss to No.1 Vanderbilt, Effross retired 10 of his first 12 batters and 16 of 20 for the game.

The run on Indiana arms continued into the 21st round when the Giants selected Halstead with the No. 636 overall pick. This is the third — and final — time the senior right-hander has been drafted. The Houston Astros selected Halstead out of high school in the 36th round of the 2010 draft, and the Minnesota Twins picked him in the 26th round in 2013. Halstead leaves Bloomington as the program’s all-time leader with 33 saves, including 10 in 2015. Halstead became the first IU pitcher to make 100 career appearances when he earned a save while striking out two batters against Long Beach State on May 10. As a junior in 2013, Halstead broke his own Indiana record with 11 saves on the way to IU’s first appearance in the College World Series.

Halstead, who redshirted the 2014 season after suffering a knee injury in the Hoosiers’ home opener, made 29 appearances as a senior in 2015. With a fastball that sits in the low 90s, Halstead struck out 55 and walked only six, while holding batters to a .219 average.

Hartong became the fourth Hoosier selected when the Minnesota Twins took him with the No. 860 overall pick. Hartong batted .303 with 13 doubles, two home runs and 28 RBIs as a senior, while claiming an IU season-best 12-game hit streak. After transferring to Indiana from Cypress College prior to the 2014 season, Hartong batted .307 with five home runs and 64 RBIs during his two seasons in Bloomington. Hartong was a First Team All-Big Ten honoree in 2014 and a member of the Johnny Bench Award Watch List in 2015.

The Yankees took Morris in the 33rd round with the No. 993 overall pick, one year after Morris earned a spot on the All-Big Ten First Team. Morris struggled for much of the 2015 season before coming into his own over the final month of action. He finished with a 5.55 ERA, allowing 79 hits over 60 innings with 45 strikeouts.

Harrison went to the Cardinals in the 35th round with pick No. 1,061. He led Indiana in strikeouts this year with 61, while posting a season ERA of 2.02. Harrison’s 87 career appearances rank third all-time at IU. He is the first IU player to be picked by St. Louis in program history.

Senior Scott Donley was one of the notable Hoosiers not to be selected. Donley missed on the draft during the same day he was named the ABCA/Rawlings Division I Mideast All-Region First Team designated hitter on Wednesday. He started all 59 games for the Hoosiers, finishing second with a .318 batting average, 71 hits and 37 RBIs. Donley doesn’t have a natural position at the next level, which could have caused teams to shy away.

Left-handed starter Kyle Hart was not picked either, which could make him the top option as IU’s Friday starter next season. After undergoing Tommy John surgery in the spring of 2014, Hart started to look like his former self down the stretch, and threw a seven-inning gem in IU’s NCAA Tournament-opening win over Radford.