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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Junior right-handed pitcher Sal Biasi became the highest Penn State draft pick since 2012 when the Kansas City Royals called his name in the 11th round of the 2017 MLB first-Year Player Draft Wednesday afternoon.
Biasi was taken with the 330rd overall pick by Royals scout Jim Farr, a Penn State baseball alum and former Major Leaguer. He became the highest Nittany Lion pick since Joe Kurrasch was taken in the eighth round of the 2012 draft by the San Francisco Giants with the 268th pick and the highest of head coach Rob Cooper’s four-year tenure at Penn State. Biasi was a member of Cooper’s first full recruiting class.
“We are very excited for Sal,” said Cooper. “He has worked extremely hard for this opportunity and now has an opportunity to chase a childhood dream.”
Biasi’s pick marks the second consecutive draft featuring Nittany Lions. Last year, the Tampa Bay Rays selected Jim Haley in the 19th round with the 570th overall pick, while Jack Anderson was tabbed by the Seattle Mariners in the 23rd round with the 687th pick. Cooper, who arrived at Penn State prior to the 2014 season after nine seasons at Wright State, has now coached 10 MLB draft picks as a head coach.
Biasi owns a 3.41 career ERA over 174.0 innings, a 10-13 record, three saves and 185 strikeouts with Penn State. He steadily improved over the past three seasons for the Nittany Lions, serving as a key reliever as a freshman before moving into the weekend rotation as a sophomore. This past season, Biasi was named to the All-Big Ten second team as he proved to be a reliable Friday night starter, enjoying a career year with a 3.48 ERA in 14 starts and 72 1/3 innings pitched and 88 strikeouts – the most by a Nittany Lion pitcher since 2009 and tied for the ninth-most in a single-season all-time at Penn State. He proved to be one of the most difficult pitchers in the conference to make contact against, as his 5.85 hits allowed per nine innings ranked second in the Big Ten and 21st in the NCAA, and his 10.95 strikeouts per nine innings also ranked second in the conference and were 41st in the country. Biasi allowed more than three earned runs only once all season.
Biasi is the fifth Nittany Lion to be drafted by the Royals all-time and the third in the last eight years (Johnny Walter, 2012; Scott Kelley, 2009). He is now the highest pick in his family too, as his younger brother, Dante, was selected in the 22nd round by the Chicago Cubs in the 2016 draft. However, Dante elected to follow his brother to Penn State but redshirted for the season as he rehabbed from an arm injury.
The elder Biasi will have the choice of returning to Penn State for his senior year or signing with the Royals. The deadline for all amateur draft picks to sign with their respective clubs is July 15.
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