Major League Baseball’s amateur draft wrapped up with a total of six players with ties to our state being selected. On the first day, Missouri State pitcher Jon Harris went in the first round, 29th overall, to Toronto. His teammates, lefty pitcher Matt Hall, who led the nation in strikeouts, went in the sixth round to Detroit and outfielder Tate Matheny, son of the Cards manager Mike Matheny, went in the fourth round to Boston.
Mizzou had pitchers Breckin Williams selected in the fourth round by Arizona and Peter Fairbanks, a sophomore was picked in the ninth round by Texas. One out fourth round selection. Austin Allen, a catcher who played his high school ball at Chaminade and then on the D-II level at Florida Tech, was selected by San Diego.
Williams from Oronogo, Mo., had a Mizzou single season record 13 saves in 2015. He earned a win or save in all nine of Mizzou’s one-run wins in 2015 and he closed the season with a 4-4 record, 13 saves and a 1.98 ERA. Fairbanks led the team in wins during his sophomore season in 2014 and has eight wins over his career with the Tigers. He and his father Shane, a standout for the Tigers in the 1980s, are the first father-son duo in Mizzou history to each be drafted after playing at Mizzou.
A three-time All-Missouri Valley Conference performer, Matheny repeated as a First-Team All-MVC choice this spring by hitting .291 with five home runs and a career-high 43 runs batted-in while starting all 61 games in center field. The junior ranks 18th on MSU’s career hits list with 217, while his season total of 12 steals, 37 walks and 18 hit by pitches all rank among the top 10 in the conference this year.
Hall, the Division I strikeout leader entering the College World Series, shattered both the Bears’ and MVC’s single-season records for punchouts with 171 this spring. The junior from Lee’s Summit, Mo., also matched a Missouri State record with 12 victories, while his 2.02 ERA was the best among all Valley starting pitchers. He logged seven double-digit strikeout totals in his 16 starts and led the league with 125.0 innings pitched, which also represents a new MSU single-season high. Hall’s 12.31 strikeout-per-9.0 innings pitched rate is not only the top mark in the country, but also the best in school history, while his 275 career strikeouts is third in Missouri State history.
Allen, a Kirkwood, Mo. native, who played high school ball at Chaminade started in 49 games for Florida Tech on the Division II level. He hit .421 with 11 home runs, 57 RBIs and 52 runs scored. MLB.com says there are some questions about his catching ability, but the Padres took him more for his bat.