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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Former Penn State pitcher Sal Biasi elected to forego his final year of NCAA eligibility and sign with the Kansas City Royals. The 11th-round draft pick has been assigned to the Royals’ Rookie-level, Arizona League team, the AZL Royals, in Surprise, Arizona.
Biasi signed officially Saturday and made his professional debut Sunday, working two innings and allowing one run on a hit and two walks with two strikeouts.
Biasi became the highest Penn State draft pick since 2012 when the Royals called his name in the 11th round with the 330th overall pick of the 2017 MLB first-Year Player Draft earlier in June. Biasi is also the highest pick of Penn State head coach Rob Cooper’s four-year tenure at Penn State. Biasi was a member of Cooper’s first full recruiting class.
“We will miss him but he will always be a Penn Stater!” said Cooper.
Biasi’s pick marked 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 is now the third active former Nittany Lion in the Minor Leagues, joining last year’s draft picks. Haley is currently playing for the Charlotte (Port Charlotte, Fla.) Stone Crabs, the Ray’s Single-A Advanced team, and is batting .291 with four doubles and 14 RBIs in 26 games. Anderson is currently pitching for the Clinton (Iowa) LumberKings, the Mariners’ Single-A team, and has a 1-2 record, two saves, a 2.43 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 37.0 innings over 20 appearances.
For his Blue and White career, Biasi posted a 3.41 ERA over 174.0 innings, a 10-13 record, three saves and 185 strikeouts. He steadily improved over his three-year career, 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.
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