Four Tigers will now take their talents to the professional level, as Missouri baseball players Matt Stites, Phil McCormick, Conner Mach and Zach Hardoin were recently selected in the Major League Baseball First Year Player’s Draft.
One day after Stites was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 17th round, MU saw three more draftees embark upon their professional careers. The San Francisco Giants selected McCormick in the 31st round, Mach was taken by the New York Yankees in the 46th round and Hardoin was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 47th round.
A former standout at Jefferson College before transferring to MU, Stites took to last season’s Big 12 Conference play by firestorm. The Festus native emerged as the Tigers’ Saturday starter while posting a 2-1 record with a 1.86 ERA in a four-game stretch against conference opponents Oklahoma State, Kansas, Baylor and Texas A&M. Stites finished the year as Missouri’s leader in innings pitched (92), strikeouts (77) and complete games (1). He was also second on the team in wins (3) and ERA (3.72).
McCormick takes his game to San Francisco following a decorated career of consistency at MU. The Wildwood native matched a program record with 36 appearances in the 2011 season, all of which came in the form of late-inning relief work. McCormick locked down the team’s closer position this past season while leading the team in wins (8), ERA (3.50) and saves (8). The southpaw finished the year with an 8-2 record.
Like Stites, Mach’s draft status received a boost with his Big 12 play. Mach was a beneficiary of a major lineup change prior to the Baylor series toward the end of the regular season and finished out the remaining games with a .321 batting average and four home runs. A native of Chesterfield, the junior posted a .285 average in 2011 with 32 RBI, 31 runs and 17 extra-base hits.
Hardoin will look to maximize his potential in Houston, only 20 minutes away from his hometown of Spring, Texas. Hardoin posted a 2-4 record with a 6.07 ERA in his senior season. This came after an impressive first three years at the collegiate level, in which Hardoin was 11-4 with a 3.70 ERA in two years at Binn College before becoming a mainstay in the MU bullpen in his first year on campus in 2010.