Three members of the 2014 Nebraska baseball team, along with two Husker signees were picked on the final day of the MLB First-Year Player Draft on Saturday afternoon.
Pat Kelly, Aaron Bummer and Zach Hirsch were each picked on Saturday after helping the Huskers reach the NCAA Tournament in 2014 for the first time since the 2008 season. Husker signees Luis Alvarado and Garett King were also selected, joining fellow signees Monte Harrison and Jakson Reetz, who picked on Thursday and Friday.
Kelly was the first to hear is name called when he was picked by his home state Minnesota Twins with the fifth pick in the 12th round. A three-time All-Big Ten selection, including first-team honors the past two seasons, Kelly is a native of Red Wing, Minn.
Kelly is the first Husker selected in the top-15 rounds of the draft since 2011, when Cody Asche was a fourth-round pick by the Philadelphia Phillies. Kelly is also the third Husker taken by the Twins in the last three drafts, joining Chad Christensen (2013) and Travis Huber (2012).
Bummer and Hirsch were both taken in the 19th round, with Bummer being selected with the third pick by the Chicago White Sox, while Hirsch went eight picks later to the Milwaukee Brewers. Hirsch was the second player with Husker ties picked by the Brewers, as Milwaukee snagged Harrison with the 50th overall pick in the second round on Thursday night.
Alvarado became the third Husker signee picked in the draft when the Boston Red Sox took him with the second-to-last pick in the 33rd round. King then came off the board as the 10th pick in the 36th round by the New York Mets.
Saturday marked the first time since 2010 that the Huskers have had three players taken in the first 20 rounds of the draft. Michael Mariot (8th – Kansas City), Ryan Hughes (16th – Oakland) and Mike Nesseth (17th – Philadephia) were each picked in the first 20 rounds of the 2010 draft.
Kelly’s selection marked the 36-straight year that at least one Husker has been picked in the MLB Draft.
Pat Kelly | JR | 2B (Minnesota Twins – 12th Round)
Kelly has been one of the top hitters in the Big Ten the last two seasons, while also ranking as one of the best infield defenders in the league. He led the Huskers in hits (76), RBIs (55) and home runs (4) in 2014. Kelly led the Huskers in hits each of the past two seasons and his 55 RBIs in 2014 were the most by a Husker since 2010 when Adam Bailey drove in 57 runs. Defensively he committed just three errors all season in 315 chances, a fielding percentage of .990.
Kelly became the 22nd player in school history to notch 200 career hits, and ended his junior year ranked 20th in school history with 212 hits. He has also started the past 135 straight games for the Huskers, including every game of the past two seasons.
Aaron Bummer | JR | LHP (Chicago White Sox – 19th Round)
Saturday marked the second time Bummer has been selected in the draft, as he was a 31st-round pick by the New York Yankees in 2011 out of high school, but instead chose to come to Nebraska.
Bummer worked as a reliever during his freshman season in 2012 and started in the bullpen as a sophomore before joining NU’s weekend rotation during Big Ten play in 2013. The 6-2 lefty worked exclusively as a starter in 2014, throwing 89.0 innings over 15 starts. He led the Huskers in 2014 in strikeouts with 56, including a team-best 16 strikeouts looking.
Through his junior season, Bummer has posted a 11-6 record with a 3.06 ERA. He also tossed his first career complete game during the 2014 season, as he capped a series sweep of Ohio State at Hawks Field.
Zach Hirsch | SR | LHP (Milwaukee Brewers – 19th Round)
After working as a starter during his sophomore season in 2012, Hirsch made the move to the bullpen in 2013 and was one of the top relief arms in the country this season. A third-team All-Big Ten selection in 2014, Hirsch was also one of 50 relievers nationally to be named to the Midseason Stopper-of-the-Year List.
Hirsch led the Huskers with a 1.72 ERA in 2014 and held opposing batters to a .193 average. The 6-4 lefty’s 31 appearances were the most by a Husker since Brett Jensen made 33 appearances in 2005.
Hirsch struck out a career-high 50 batters in 52.1 innings of work, while posting a 5-2 record and four saves. His 50 strikeouts ranked third on the team to starters Aaron Bummer (56) and Chance Sinclair (52).
Luis Alvarado | HS (Puerto Rico Baseball Academy) | RHP/INF/OF (Boston Red Sox – 33rd Round)
Alvarado was a late addition to Nebraska’s signing class, as he signed a letter of intent in April. The 6-5 native of Salinas, Puerto Rico, has an athletic frame and could play in the field or pitch for the Huskers.
Tabbed as an second-team underclass All-American in 2013 by Perfect Game, Alvarado earned first-team All-Canada/Puerto Rico honors in 2014. The scouting service ranked Alvarado as the No. 3 high school player in Puerto Rico and the No. 165 high school recruit overall.
Alvarado attended Montverde Academy in Florida in 2013, before returning to Puerto Rico for his senior season.
Garett King | HS (Orange County Lutheran) | RHP (N.Y. Mets – 36th Round)
The Nebraska coaching staff was able to pull King away from Anaheim, Calif., to sign with the Huskers last fall. The 6-3 righty was tabbed as the No. 18 right-handed pitcher in the state of California by Perfect Game and the No. 187 righty in the country. King was a 2014 California Region honorable-mention pick by Perfect Game in 2014 after earning underclass high honorable-mention All-American honors last season.
As a junior in 2013, King helped the Lancers to a runner-up finish in the Trinity League in after the team won the title in 2012. He also competed at the 2013 PG WWBA World Championships with Team Evoshield in Jupiter, Fla.