EAST LANSING, Mich. â€“ Michigan State senior right-handed pitcher Tony Bucciferro was selected in the 14th round (No. 441 overall) of the 2012 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday.
Bucciferro is the highest drafted Spartan pitcher since Josh Axelson was selected in the fifth round by St. Louis in 2000.
In addition to Bucciferro, junior third baseman Torsten Boss (eighth round, No. 252 overall) and red-shirt junior Ryan Jones (13th round, No. 418 overall) were selected in the MLB First-Year Player Draft on Tuesday, giving MSU three picks in the top-15 rounds in the draft for the first time since 1987 and just the fourth time in school history (1969, 1972).
Voted a captain by his teammates, Bucciferro closed his career as the schoolâ€™s all-time leader in innings pitched (372.1) and starts (55), and he also ranks second in strikeouts (273) and tied for third in wins (26).
â€œTony is an outstanding competitor who knows how to pitch,â€ said Michigan State head coach Jake Boss. â€œHeâ€™s not going to light up the radar gun at 96 mph, but heâ€™ll be upper 80s to low 90s and the ball moves all over the place out of his hand. He throws three pitches for strikes. With hitters having wood bats in their hands, thereâ€™s no question heâ€™s going to be able to get guys out.â€
A two-time All-Big Ten selection (first team in 2011; third team in 2012), Bucciferro finished his career by leading the Big Ten in strikeouts with 94 this season, marking the fifth most in MSU single-season history. He also led the conference with a school-record 111.1 innings pitched, and ranked ninth in the league in ERA (3.07) and 10th in opposing batting average (.250).
The Joliet, Ill., native was one of only three conference pitchers to win Big Ten Pitcher of the Week at least twice this season. He was named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week after allowing only one hit in six shutout innings in the win over No. 11 St. John's on Opening Day, and also garnered Big Ten Co-Pitcher of the Week accolades for the third time in his career after throwing a five-hit, complete game shutout in the 6-0 win over Iowa on May 11. It marked his fourth career complete game shutout.
Bucciferro garnered Big Ten All-Tournament Team honors after he allowed just two runs in eight innings in MSUâ€™s opening round win over Nebraska.
Bucciferro was named to the 25-man Cape Cod All-League Team after an impressive summer season pitching for the Brewster Whitecaps in 2011, ranking fourth in the Cape Cod League with a 1.90 ERA. He was named to the all-star team and pitched a scoreless inning during the all-star game on July 29 at Fenway Park.
Afirst-team All-Big Ten selection as the No. 2 starter in the rotation as a junior in 2011, Bucciferro collected an 8-3 record with a 3.38 ERA and ranked among the Big Ten leaders in wins (tied for second with 8), strikeouts (third with 66), starts (tied for third with 15), innings pitched (fourth with 101.1) and opposing batting average (seventh at .258). He struck out nine in throwing a three-hit, complete-game shutout over Northwestern on May 20; the win clinched a share of the Big Ten regular-season championship for MSU.
As the No. 3 starter in the rotation in 2010, Bucciferro compiled a 7-5 record, including a team-best two shutouts. He was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team in 2009 after going 5-2 on the mound with a staff-low 3.55 ERA.