BLACKSBURG, Va. - For the 17th time in the last 18 years and for the sixth straight year, the Virginia Tech baseball team has seen at least one of its players selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft as two Hokies were selected in the third day of the draft on Wednesday.
The first player taken was rising-senior left-handed pitcher Joe Mantiply in the 28th round, with graduated-senior right-handed pitcher Ronnie Shaban selected in the 33rd round. With the two selections, it marks the fourth consecutive year the Hokies have had at least two players chosen in the MLB draft.
Mantiply was taken with the 878th pick by the Philadelphia Phillies and marked the second time he was taken in the MLB draft, as the New York Mets selected the then senior out of Tunstall HS in Danville, Va. with the 1,454th pick in the 48th round of the 2009 draft. After three seasons at Tech, he improved his draft position by 20 rounds and almost 600 picks.
In his Hokie career, Mantiply was 14-15 in 34 starts and appeared in 15 games out of the pen, all in his freshman season. He threw a total of 224 innings and struck out 177 batters with a career 4.38 ERA. It’s worth noting that his ERA fell by more than two full runs over the course of his Tech career, from a 5.62 as a freshman to his 2012 ERA of 3.53.
If Mantiply does sign with the Phillies, the lasting memory of Mantiply for many Hokie fans could be his effort in his final start of 2012, in which he took a perfect game into the fifth frame at No. 6 North Carolina and notched his first career complete game with seven strikeouts in the 2-1 loss to the Tar Heels.
Shaban was taken with the 1,020th pick by the St. Louis Cardinals and, for him, it was also the second time he was taken in the MLB draft, as the Baltimore Orioles selected him as a junior with the 1,475th pick in the 49th round of the 2011 draft. The Moseley, Va. native returned to Tech for his senior season and improved his draft position by 16 rounds and 455 picks.
Sidelined by an injury this season, Shaban was limited in his time on the mound, appearing in just six games and throwing just four frames. He did strike out five of the 14 batters he faced, allowed just three hits, did not allow a run and earned three saves. In his career as a pitcher, Shaban threw 36.1 innings with 34 strikeouts, picked up six saves with a 3.96 ERA.
His career numbers at the plate include a career .314 average with 240 hits, 65 doubles, nine triples and 18 home runs. He played in 203 career games with 196 starts, scored 131 runs and drove in 178. He missed 19 games this year, or he would have surely finished as the school’s all-time leader in doubles and in the top five in at-bats, hits, triples, total bases and RBI.
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