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Three Anglers Chosen in First Round of MLB Draft

by David Souza
Saturday, June 11, 2016

Three Anglers Chosen in First Round of MLB Draft

Chatham, Mass. — Three Anglers were selected in the first round of the 2016 MLB Draft while six others were chosen inside the Top 200 picks. Pittsburgh’s T.J. Zeuch, Wake Forest’s Will Craig, and Louisville’s Zack Burdi were all taken in the opening round. All three played for Chatham in 2015, while Burdi also pitched for the Anglers in 2014. When the fortieth round concluded on Saturday night, the Anglers had 29 former and current players drafted by 19 major league teams.  

Zeuch: The right-hander from Pittsburgh was the first Angler taken in the draft and was selected 21st overall by the Toronto Blue Jays. Zeuch appeared in four games for Chatham at the beginning of last summer, going 2-0 with a 1.30 ERA and 17 strikeouts.

As a three-year starter for the Panthers, Zeuch notched a 3.33 career ERA while going 12-13. In 2016, the tall righty pitched his way to a team-best 6-1 record. He also led Pittsburgh this year with a 3.10 ERA and 74 strikeouts.

“He was very focused,” said Schiffner. “[In Chatham] he was on a pitch count per his pitching coach at Pittsburgh, but he knew that [the CCBL] was where he wanted to see what he could do and he was very focused on getting the job done, trying to get better, and working on his breaking pitches.”

Craig: Selected 22nd overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates, Craig impresses from multiple sides of the diamond. As a pitcher for Wake Forrest, the right-hander appeared in relief 19 times this season, earning nine saves. His ERA was the lowest amongst non-starters at 3.54.

Playing as an infielder in 160 total games for the black and gold, Craig mustered up a .347 career batting average and clubbed 37 total homers. He led Wake Forest in both categories this season.

A member of the 2015 Anglers, Craig led Chatham with 32 hits and 21 RBIs.

“He’s so talented,” said Schiffner. “He topped out at 95 miles an hour this spring. . . .but, he’s also one of the best right-handed hitters in college baseball. He’s got a chance to make it [to professional baseball] as a position player or as a pitcher.” 

Burdi: After pitching for Chatham over the span of two seasons, Burdi was drafted 26th overall by the Chicago White Sox. In his time with the Anglers, Burdi pitched 28 and a third innings of relief, striking out 33. He totaled a 2.86 ERA during his time with Chatham.

For Louisville, Burdi became the team’s closer as a sophomore and recorded 20 saves in the past two years. His best season came in 2015, where he posted a 0.92 ERA after making 20 appearances for the Cardinals.

“He probably has the best fastball in the country,” said Schiffner. “Zack’s one of the hardest workers you’ll ever find. He’s got major league velocity right now and if his secondary pitches improve a little bit. . . . .then all three [former Anglers] have a legitimate chance of being in the big leagues.”  

Twenty-six other Anglers heard their names called this weekend, from Jake Fraley in the second round to Joe Cronin in the 34th. The Seattle Mariners – home to former Chatham infielder Kyle Seager – selected the most Anglers with four.