Eric Wedge makes first appearance as coach
The Wichita State baseball team had four players and one signee selected in the 2019 Major League Baseball draft this week. It was the fourth straight year WSU had at least four players picked in the draft.
After the Shockers had five players drafted in the first 10 rounds last summer, WSU had one more this summer. Senior second baseman Luke Ritter was picked No. 208 overall in the seventh round by the New York Mets on Tuesday.
It was a victory for Ritter, who decided to return to WSU for his senior year after being drafted in the 37th round. Ritter had a career year, hitting .333 with a .545 slugging percentage with 27 extra-base hits, nine home runs, 47 runs, 40 RBIs, 12 stolen bases and 36 walks.
On Wednesday, the Shockers saw senior starting pitcher Clayton McGinness drafted in the 20th round by the Baltimore Orioles, redshirt sophomore reliever Alex Segal drafted in the 22nd round by the Atlanta Braves and junior closer Mitchell Walters in the 35th round by the Tampa Bay Rays. Signee Jake Hamilton, one of the nation’s top junior-college starting pitchers, was drafted in the 21st round by the Texas Rangers.
The decisions of Segal (two years left), Walters (one year left) and Hamilton (two years left) will have a large impact on how the WSU pitching staff looks like next season.
Walters was the team’s closer and recorded eight saves, striking out 44 hitters in 34-plus innings in 26 appearances with a 4.15 earned run average. Segal was a crucial reliever for WSU, as he threw 36 innings with a 5.50 ERA with 47 strikeouts and held opponents to a staff-low .195 batting average. Hamilton was a prized recruit of recently fired coach Todd Butler.
WSU is set to return senior Preston Snavely (3-4, 6.21 ERA), senior Tommy Barnhouse (2-2, 4.72 ERA), junior Liam Eddy (5-8, 5.04 ERA) and sophomore Connery Peters (1-3, 6.25 ERA) with starting experience.
The Shockers will have to replace their ace in McGinness, who finished his senior season with a 6-4 record with a 3.89 ERA. He improved his draft stock with a dominant final month of the season, as all five of his starts lasted at least six innings with two earned runs or fewer. In his final five starts, McGinness logged a 1.73 ERA in 36-plus innings.