3 Panthers selected in MLB draft

| Saturday, June 8, 2013, 1:57 p.m.

It took until the third and final day for most of the district's amateur prospects to find their way into the MLB draft.

Three players from Pitt, including two all-Big East first-team selections, were taken during Saturday's rounds, but coach Joe Jordano said all were considering a return to the Panthers next season.

None of the three underclassmen — junior right-handers Ethan Mildren and Matt Wotherspoon and sophomore catcher Elvin Soto — were taken during the first two days covering 10 rounds of the 40-round draft.

“We've had our conversations with all of them,” Jordano said. “Based on our experience, we've given them our thoughts on it, and it's their decision on what they decide to do, whether it be for themselves or their families.”

With those three making major contributions, Pitt enjoyed a breakout season in 2013, finishing with a school-record 42-17 mark and climbing to as high as No. 16, according to Collegiate Baseball Newspaper — the best ranking in school history.

Mildren, who led the Panthers with 10 victories and a 2.35 ERA, was taken by the Minnesota Twins in the 12th round, and the switch-hitting Soto was chosen by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 16th round.

Both were named to the all-Big East first team.

Wotherspoon, a second-team selection, was taken by the Detroit Tigers in the 20th round.

In addition, Clarence (N.Y.) High School right-hander Mark Armstrong, a Pitt recruit, was chosen Friday by the Cincinnati Reds in the third round with 104th pick.

“We have four players affiliated with our program to be taken,” Jordano said. “I'm happy for those guys. In the case of our three guys here now, it's a question of whether it will be enough being taken in the rounds they were taken as to whether they decide to play professionally.”

Mildren, who attended Laurel Highlands High School and was the 350th pick, compiled a team-best four complete games and struck out 76 in 114 23 innings, working more than seven innings in 13 of 15 starts.

In a Big East tournament victory over St. John's, the 6-foot-4, 215-pound Mildren allowed just four hits over eight innings.

At Laurel Highlands, he was the 2010 Tribune-Review Male Athlete of the Year and was a two-time Trib High School Baseball Player of the Year.

Soto, a 5-11, 200-pound sophomore, was the draft's 480th pick. He went undrafted out of high school, making him a draft-eligible sophomore. He batted .320 with six home runs and 43 RBI in 59 games — 57 as a starter — and helped the Panthers' pitching staff to a school-record 3.59 ERA.

Wotherspoon, at 6-1, 175 pounds, was 9-3 with a 3.70 ERA. He was the 606th pick.

Slippery Rock University right-hander Lou Trivino was the top pick of the day Saturday from the district, going to the Oakland Athletics in the 11th round as the 341st selection.

The 6-5, 225-pound junior posted a 1.83 ERA in 13 appearances at Slippery Rock, setting school records for strikeouts in a season (92) and career (227).

Dave Mackall is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at dmackall@tribweb.com.

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