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Four Sun Devils, One Commit Selected on Final Day of MLB Draft

The Arizona State Sun Devils had a productive day in rounds 11-20 of the MLB Draft Tuesday with a total of five players selected on Day 3.

It's not about how you start, it's how you finish. 

That should be the recruiting motto for Arizona State's baseball program, at least when referencing their ability to propel their players to the next level. The 2021 MLB Draft is officially over, with more than a handful of Sun Devils drafted to potentially make the leap to the world of professional baseball. 

After a quiet first round, the Sun Devils saw two commits (Wes Kath, Mat Olsen) and one of their own (Drew Swift) drafted on the second day of the draft, which can be read about here

The third and final day of the draft, with rounds 11-20, saw a plethora of Arizona State baseball representation. Pitcher Erik Tolman was the first ASU player to hear his name called on Day 3 after being drafted by the Washington Nationals in Round 14. 

Some of Tolman's highlights include the following from his 2020 season, via his Sun Devils Athletics profile page:

  • Had 30 strikeouts in 18 innings pitched last season, holding opponents to just .143 hitting.
  • The 30 strikeouts were fifth in the Pac-12 while his 12 strikeouts caught looking were second.
  • Tolman recorded 15 strikeouts per nine innings, an average that was second in the Pac-12 and 18th nationally.
  • In his three starts last year, Tolman allowed only four earned runs. He was unfazed by runners on base, holding opponents to 3-of-20 hitting (.150).

After a few quiet rounds, the 17th round provided a gauntlet of Sun Devils drafted. The first of four picks in the round, ASU commit Will Rogers, was selected by the Milwaukee Brewers at pick 507.

AllSunDevils spin on Rogers: Another ASU commitment who will have to have some discussions and thought about his future after being drafted, Rogers was selected in the MLB Draft after posting some of the highest batting-practice exit velocities at the MLB Draft Combine per Baseball America. Should Rogers prove to be a valuable bat at the next level, the services he could provide behind the plate offensively and defensively may be well worth the wait.

Just two picks later, Arizona State pitcher Justin Fall was selected at pick 509 by the Miami Marlins. 

AllSunDevils spin on Fall: After previously being drafted by the Kansas City Royals in Round 34 of the 2019 MLB Draft, Fall chose to attend Arizona State after briefly playing junior college ball at Brookdale Community College. Fall had a 7-3 record as a starter with 47 strikeouts and a 4.09 ERA last season at ASU and Shore Sports Network had this to say on Fall: “With 20 rounds on tap for this season, Fall is considered a strong possibility to be selected in the first half of the draft. At 6-foot-6 and featuring a fastball that has touched 95 miles per hour from the left side this past spring, Fall is a considered a high-upside pitcher with some work to still put in but serious potential if he can do it.”

Three picks after Fall, fellow pitcher Cooper Benson was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays at pick 512. Some facts on Benson, per his ASU Athletics page:

  • Finished with a 1-1 record and a 3.60 ERA, striking out 25 in 20 innings of work.
  • Made an impressive debut for the Sun Devils against a top-10 Michigan program, recording a quality start with 6.1 innings pitched and just two earned runs against in his first collegiate action while striking out eight with no walks.
  • Recorded a career-best nine strikeouts in his final appearance of the year against Fresno State over 5.2 innings.

Another four picks later, pitcher Tyler Thornton became the newest member of the Cleveland Indians at pick 516, the final Sun Devils player to be selected. More on Thornton via his ASU Athletics page:

  • The sophomore posted a quality start in three of his first four starts last season, the only Sun Devil to post such a feat.
  • ASU was 4-0 in games Thornton started.
  • Thornton was 2-0 with a 3.48 ERA with 25 strikeouts and seven walks in 24 innings pitched, tied for sixth in the Pac-12. His 25 strikeouts were 11th in the Pac-12.

A strong third day of the draft put the final tally of Sun Devils drafted at five, with three more class of 2021 commitments also drafted. Those commits (Rogers, Kath and Olsen) will certainly have a lot on their plate when deciding between playing collegiate ball or entering the minor-league system. 

For now, however, celebrations will take place. Arizona State baseball saw another strong output in the MLB Draft, a sign of how strong the program has become. 

Donnie Druin is a Deputy Editor with AllSunDevils. Follow Donnie on Twitter @DonnieDruin, and AllSunDevils @AllSunDevils.