San Francisco drafts Caleb Baragar in the 9th round #iubase

Caleb Baragar spent half of his day ignoring the draft. Then he became antsy.

By Friday evening, his phone was buzzing with calls and texts. The Pirates checked in, as did the Dodgers. Then came the message he had been waiting for.

“My advisor texted me and said he was working something out with the Giants,” Baragar said. “That seemed to be what happened.”

Indeed, the San Francisco Giants made Baragar the Hoosiers’ first draft pick in 2016, selecting him in the ninth round with the No. 275 overall pick on day two of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. The left-handed starter is the 16th Indiana player taken in the first 15 rounds since 2009 and the highest Hoosier selected since IU had three players — Kyle Schwarber (first round), Sam Travis (second round) and Dustin DeMuth (fifth round) — picked in the first five rounds in 2014.

Consider it a wish come true for Baragar, who felt he had a reasonable chance to go somewhere between the eighth and 10th rounds on Friday.

“I really tried not to think about it too much,” Baragar said. “I started the day out not watching at all. Then, as it ticked on, I was like, ‘OK, well, I’ll put it on and see if I know anybody who goes today.’ I think it was around the fifth round, I just put it on my computer while I played PS4 with my little brother. I was just kind of hanging out.

“He actually had a baseball game, so he left. My dad took him to that and it was just me and my mom. I was sitting downstairs around the eighth round and I was starting to get a little antsy and I was getting some phone calls. She walked out just in time and I told her, ‘Hey, (my advisor) told me that he’s trying to work something out with the Giants. Their pick is up next. You might want to just sit down here.’ I kind of wasn’t paying attention, then all of a sudden she screamed so I figured that was it.”

Baragar earned his selection through a solid senior year in IU’s weekend rotation. He started IU’s first seven Sunday games before shifting to Saturdays for his final eight starts. Baragar finished fourth in the Big Ten in opposing batting average (.205), tied for fifth in ERA (2.49), 11th in strikeouts (74) and 13th in innings pitched (86 2/3).

Baragar often threw strikes with his fastball, which sat in the upper 80s and occasionally topped out at 92 miles per hour. Throwing with conviction, he said, allowed him to achieve consistent results as a reliable weekend arm.

“Having confidence in my fastball and commanding the inside half of the plate was really big,” Baragar said.

With the Giants, Baragar will join former Hoosier pitchers Jake Dunning and Ryan Halstead. Dunning is currently playing with Triple-A Sacramento and Halstead is working out of the bullpen for Low-A Augusta.

“I’m pretty ready to go,” Baragar said. “I’m excited to face some potential big league guys and just get out there and compete.”

Rounds 11 through 40 will complete the draft on Saturday afternoon. Pitchers Jake Kelzer, Kyle Hart and Evan Bell, along with junior outfielder Craig Dedelow could all be selected on the final day.

Earlier Friday, IU also watched one of its highly-rated high school signees come off the board.

Skylar Szynski, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound right-handed pitcher from Penn High School, was selected by the Oakland Athletics in the fourth round with the No. 112 overall pick.

Baseball America considers Szynski the No. 1 high school player in the state of Indiana and the No. 94 overall prospect in this year’s draft. Should he turn down the Athletics, Szynski would likely factor into an Indiana weekend rotation that lost all three starters to graduation. The No. 112 pick has an assigned bonus slot of $531,500.

Szynski works in the low-to-mid 90s with his fastball and also has an above average curveball. In 64 innings this season, Szynski has struck out 80, walked 22 and allowed 31 hits. He owns a 10-1 record and an ERA of 1.86.

Teams have until July 15 to sign drafted players.