Chicago, Ill. – June 9, 2014 – When the Midwest Collegiate League was founded in 2010, one of the goals of the league was to help players in their quest to be drafted into a major league organization.
This past weekend’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft was proof that the league has been successful in accomplishing that goal as 10 current and former MCL players were selected.
Lexington Snipes catcher Simeon Lucas was picked by the Cleveland Indians in the seventh round of the First-Year Player Draft. He is a current member of the Snipes roster and was drafted out of high school by the Indians with the 218th overall selection.
Pitcher Matt Borens, who was an MCL All-Star with the Will County CrackerJacks in 2012, was selected by the New York Yankees in round No. 11. Borens just completed his junior season at Eastern Illinois University.
Catcher Mike Hollenbeck, who played for the Illinois Lincolns in 2012, was drafted by the White Sox in the 23rd round following his senior season at Illinois State.
In round No. 36, the name of a Northwest Indiana Oilman was called in the big league draft for the first time in the three-year history of the team. Outfielder Larry Crisler, who is listed on the Northwest Indiana Oilmen roster and just completed his senior year of high school, was picked by the Atlanta Braves out of Bishop Noll High School.
In addition to current Snipe Simeon Lucas, the Lexington club saw several former players taken in this year’s draft. Pitcher Dan Savas of Illinois State was taken by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 19th round. He turned in a 3.92 ERA while pitching for the Snipes in 2011. Ben Brewster, who pitched with the Snipes in 2013, landed in the White Sox organization as a 15th round pick.
Another former Snipe whose name was called this past weekend was RHP Brock Stewart, who was taken by the Dodgers in the sixth round out of Illinois State.
Current DuPage County Hounds pitcher Tomas Michelson of UIC was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 29th round. The Hounds were also represented by Illinois State’s Paul DeJong, who was taken by the Pirates in the 38th round. DeJong spent two seasons in the MCL, playing with the Illinois Lincolns in 2012 and the Hounds in 2013.
Jameson Henning, who made the MCL All-Star Game while playing for the Rockford Foresters in 2012, was picked by the San Francisco Giants in the 12th round.
This year’s class of MCL draftees will join a group of former players already competing in major league organizations, including former Illinois Jayhawks pitcher Tony Cingrani, who is a member of the Cincinnati Reds pitching rotation.
The 10 MCL players selected in this year’s draft lifts the total number of players selected to 17 in the five-year history of the league. Danny Lietz (Toronto Blue Jays), Justin Ringo (St. Louis Cardinals, Corey Ray (Seattle Mariners), Elliot Armstrong (Atlanta Braves), Dontrell Rush (White Sox) and John Williams (Minnesota Twins) join Cingrani on the list of MCL players drafted in years past.
The Midwest Collegiate League has also helped develop several other players who have signed professional contracts, including Chris Chigas, Drew Provence (Normal CornBelters) and Bill Miller (Joliet Slammers).