One of the most accomplished players in Kentucky Baseball history heard his name called in the MLB draft on Monday night. Sean Hjelle was selected in the second round (45th overall) by the San Francisco Giants on the first night of the MLB draft. The 6’11” starting pitcher was the first UK player selected in the 2018 draft and the highest selected UK pitcher since Alex Meyer in 2011.
In Hjelle’s three-year career in Lexington, he won 22 games and struck out 222 batters. Hjelle worked as the team’s closer as a freshman in 2016 before moving into a starting role in 2017. Hjelle won SEC Pitcher of the Year in 2017 after going 7-1 with a 1.90 ERA against conference opponents. The biggest moment in Hjelle’s career came when he pitched 3.1 perfect innings in relief to help clinch UK’s first regional title in 2017.
The Giants’ farm system has been depleted thanks to trades over the last year. San Francisco used their top two picks to select a pair of polished college players in Georgia Tech’s Joey Bart and Hjelle. If Hjelle signs (the slot value for the 45th pick is $1,587,600) he will be one of the highest ranked prospects in the Giants’ system.
Love the Giants Sean Hjelle pick. Going to be a long-time big leaguer. May be more back of the rotation than front of rotation, but really good feel, solid stuff and impressive competitiveness.
— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) June 5, 2018
— David Seifert (@DSeifertD1PBR) June 5, 2018
The Minnesota-native has good command and plays with a tremendous amount of competitive fire. For more on Hjelle, check out KSR’s scouting report on Hjelle.
Hjelle is the first of a handful of UK players that will be drafted at some point in the 40-round draft. Stay tuned for updates on where former BatCats land over the next three days.