The Virginia baseball team finished with seven selections in the 2015 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, as a trio of Cavaliers were chosen Wednesday. John La Prise (Jr., Exton, Pa.) was selected in the 19th round (572nd overall) by the Toronto Blue Jays. Kenny Towns (Sr., Burke, Va.) was taken in the 20th round (615th overall) by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and Daniel Pinero (So., Toronto, Ontario) was picked in the 36th round (1,090th overall) by the Detroit Tigers.
With the seven draft selections this season, Virginia now has had 66 picks over the last 12 seasons under head coach Brian O’Connor and his coaching staff, including 46 over the last seven years.
Four Cavaliers were selected during the first two days of the draft this year. Nathan Kirby (Jr., Midlothian, Va.) was taken 40th overall by the Milwaukee Brewers, while Josh Sborz (Jr., McLean, Va.) was chosen with the 74th pick by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Joe McCarthy (Jr., Scranton, Pa.) and Brandon Waddell (Jr., Houston, Texas) were fifth-round selections of the Tampa Bay Rays and Pittsburgh Pirates, respectively, on Tuesday.
La Prise was hampered by a hip injury this year and played in just four games. A .317 career batter, La Prise played in 50 games in 2014 and batted .348 for UVa’s College World Series runner-up team. He had four hits in the CWS Finals against Vanderbilt.
Towns is in the midst of his best season at Virginia, batting .298 with five home runs, 18 doubles and 60 RBI while playing in all 61 games at third base. A second-team All-ACC honoree in 2015, Towns has played in 200 career games, including 25 NCAA tournament games. With two more games, Towns will move into the top 10 in career games at Virginia. He ranks eighth in career doubles (48) and ninth in RBI (152) at UVa.
A draft-eligible sophomore, Pinero was a second-team All-ACC honoree in 2015 after earning third-team honors last year. Earlier this season, he was named to the watch list for the Brooks Wallace Award, which is presented to the nation’s top shortstop. He is batting .300 in 60 games as the Cavaliers’ starting shortstop this season and has played in 128 of UVa’s 130 games over the past two seasons. He currently leads the team and ranks seventh in the ACC in runs scored with 56.
Virginia plays in the College World Series at 3 p.m. Saturday against Arkansas.