The 2019 Major League Baseball (MLB) Draft concluded on Wednesday, with rounds 10 through 40, and a number of student-athletes from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) were selected.
Leading the way was Bethune-Cookman pitcher Anthony Maldonado, who was selected in the 11th round by the Miami Marlins. Maldonado was named Second Team All-MEAC this past season after tying for the league lead with 97 strikeouts. He went 4-5 with a team-best 81.1 innings in 13 starts and two complete games. His 10.73 strikeouts per-game led BCU starters.
Over his three seasons as a starter, he earned three all-conference honors and was the 2018 MEAC Pitcher of the Year. From 2017-19, he went 18-11 with a 3.22 ERA over 231.2 innings. Maldonado had six complete games and three shutouts in 39 starts. He registered over a strikeout an innings with 232, including his 97 this spring. His 10.73 strikeouts per nine innings pitched was a career-best.
He is the first Wildcat drafted since shortstop Demetrius Sims was also picked by the Marlins in the 14th round of the 2017 MLB Draft, and the highest B-CU pitcher selected in a decade since the Milwaukee Brewers chose Hiram Burgos in the sixth round of the 2009 MLB Draft.
North Carolina Central’s Corey Joyce, the two-time reigning MEAC Player of the Year, went in the 12th round to the Detroit Tigers. Joyce had a tremendous career as an Eagle, as he was named MEAC Rookie of the Year in 2017, as well as a Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-American. He followed that with back-to-back MEAC Player of the Year campaigns in 2018 and 2019, and was the first Eagle to win the award.
Joyce finished the 2019 campaign in the top-four of the MEAC in batting (.343), slugging (.527) and on base percentage (.444), and led the league in runs scored with 48. He also finished tied for third in the conference with four triples and tied for fourth with five home runs, and drove in 32 RBI to be ranked in the top-10 in that category. He also captured 12 stolen bases to finish second on the club.
Joyce holds the highest career batting average in the modern era at NCCU at .348 over 138 career games played and started, and also sits atop the leaderboard in slugging percentage at .527. He stands as the NCCU career leader in runs scored with 125, has the fourth-most hits with 187, and is tied for the third-most doubles with 34.
He is the second NCCU player ever to be drafted, following Andrew Vernon in 2016 — who went to the Milwaukee Brewers in the 28th round.
Garrett Lawson of Delaware State, the 2019 MEAC Pitcher of the Year, went in the 19th round, where the Los Angeles Angels selected him. Lawson was 7-3 with a MEAC-best 1.85 ERA during the 2019 regular season. He also led the league with a .196 opponent batting average and tied for the conference high with 97 strikeouts, averaging 11.2 strikeouts per nine innings, during the regular season.
North Carolina A&T State bullpen ace Leon Hunter went in the 35th round to the Texas Rangers. He was 3-1 this past season for the Aggies, who won the MEAC Southern Division regular-season title, with an ERA under three and 31 strikeouts in 31.1 innings pitched.
He also had 10 saves on the season.
Hunter is the first Aggie to be drafter since the Atlanta Braves took Cutter Dyals — also a reliever – in 2017.
The Los Angeles Dodgers took Savannah State outfielder Justin Washington in the 35th round, making him the first Tiger taken in the MLB Draft since pitcher Kyle McGowin was taken in 2013 by the Washington Nationals in the fifth round.
McGowin is currently on the Nationals’ big-league roster.
MEAC Baseball Players Selected in the 2019 MLB Draft
|Anthony Maldonado||Bethune-Cookman||11||321||Miami Marlins|
|Corey Joyce||North Carolina Central||12||352||Detroit Tigers|
|Garrett Lawson||Delaware State||19||571||Los Angeles Angels|
|Leon Hunter||North Carolina A&T State||35||1,045||Texas Rangers|
|Justin Washington||Savannah State||35||1,061||Los Angeles Dodgers|