Daily Egyptian

All four Salukis from 2017 MLB draft class enter pro ranks

Itchy Jones Stadium, Home of Saluki Baseball. DE stock photo.

Itchy Jones Stadium, Home of Saluki Baseball. DE stock photo.

By Denton "Gio" Giovenco

SIU baseball can officially claim four more professional baseball players have graced the diamond in Carbondale, following the signings of the entire 2017 Saluki MLB draft class this June.

The Salukis chosen during the 2017 MLB June Amateur Draft include outfielder Greg Lambert, catcher Nick Hutchins and pitchers Chad Whitmer and Joey Marciano.

 

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Chad Whitmer — 10th Round (302nd overall) by the New York Yankees

Former Saluki pitcher Chad Whitmer is featured on his own Fathead affixed to the clubhouse lounge wall, representing SIU players that have entered professional baseball over the years, at Itchy Jones Stadium. Courtesy: SIU coach P.J. Finigan via Twitter

Senior pitcher Chad Whitmer served as the Salukis’ Friday starter for the duration of the 2017 season. The New York Yankees chose Whitmer with its 10th pick of day one, adding him to a total of nine pitchers chosen by the squad through the first 10 rounds.

The former Saluki hurler officially signed with the Yankees on June 15, receiving a reported $7,500 signing bonus. On June 29, New York assigned Whitmer to the club’s rookie-level Yankees-West team in the Gulf Coast League.

Whitmer has been used out of the bullpen for the Yankees-West, compiling a 3-0 record through 19 innings in 14 trips to the mound at the time of writing. He claimed his first save of the season on Aug. 28, pitching a perfect ninth inning, allowing no hits and walking none while striking out all three batters he faced to secure a 2-0 win over the Blue Jays GCL affiliate.

Whitmer boasts an impressive 22/2 K/BB ratio through 19 frames off the mound in the minors.

Chad Whitmer via Twitter

 

Greg Lambert — 21st Round (618th overall) by the San Diego Padres

Former Saluki outfielder Greg Lambert is featured on his own Fathead affixed to the clubhouse lounge wall, representing SIU players that have entered professional baseball over the years, at Itchy Jones Stadium. Courtesy: SIU coach P.J. Finigan via Twitter

Junior outfielder Greg Lambert chose to forego his senior season with the Salukis to enter the professional ranks, signing with the San Diego Padres on June 19 for a reported $100,000 signing bonus.

The Padres assigned Lambert to the club’s AZL Padres rookie-level affiliate in the Arizona League, where he served as the team’s center fielder.

He earned a promotion to the Padres’ Class A-Advanced affiliate the Lake Elsinore Storm of the California League on July 20 for a three-game stint, before being assigned to short-season Class A Northwest League Tri-City Dust Devils on July 26.

Lambert performed well through his four games with the Dust Devils, batting .375 with one RBI and one run scored despite striking out in four of his eight at bats.

San Diego reassigned the former Saluki outfielder to the AZL Padres on Aug. 5, where Lambert has enjoyed regular starts in the outfield for the rookie-league affiliate.

Greg Lambert via Twitter

Nick Hutchins — 27th Round (810th overall) by the Kansas City Royals

Former Saluki catcher Nick Hutchins is featured on his own Fathead affixed to the clubhouse lounge wall, representing SIU players that have entered professional baseball over the years, at Itchy Jones Stadium. Courtesy: SIU coach P.J. Finigan via Twitter

Junior catcher Nick Hutchins, same as his friend Lambert, decided to forego his senior season with the Salukis to enter the professional ranks. He signed with the Kansas City Royals on June 19, earning a reported $75,000 signing bonus.

Hutchins was the third of six catchers Kansas City chose during the 2017 draft, and one of four to sign with the club.

The Royals assigned the former Saluki backstop to its rookie-level affiliate the Burlington Royals of the Appalachian League on June 19. Hutchins played nine games for Burlington, batting .313 and claiming his first home run in the pro ranks in his fourth game, earning a promotion to Kansas City’s Class A-Advanced affiliate the Wilmington Blue Rocks of the Carolina League on July 28.

Hutchins played in two games for the Blue Rocks before being assigned to the Class A-full season Lexington Legends of the South Atlantic League on Aug. 5.

The former Saluki catcher claimed his second home run of his career on Aug. 20 while with the Legends, enjoying his best game so far at the plate, going 2-for-3 and adding a double for six total bases on the day to go along with three RBI’s and one run scored.

Joey Marciano — 36th Round (1086th overall) by the San Francisco Giants

Former Saluki pitcher Joey Marciano is featured on his own Fathead affixed to the clubhouse lounge wall, representing SIU players that have entered professional baseball over the years, at Itchy Jones Stadium. Courtesy: SIU coach P.J. Finigan via Twitter

Senior pitcher Joey Marciano served as the Salukis’ Sunday starter for the duration of the 2017 season. He was one of 24 pitchers the San Francisco Giants chose in the 2017 draft.

Marciano officially signed with the Giants on June 21, and was assigned to the AZL Giants rookie-level affiliate in the Arizona League.

The former Saluki hurler has compiled a 4-1 record through 15 appearances — three as a starter — totaling 28.2 innings for the AZL Giants. He claims a 26/12 K/BB ratio while holding opposing batters to a .212 average.

Marciano also boasts an impressive 1.57 ERA and 1.19 WHIP off the mound as a professional at time of writing. It may not be long until the former Saluki pitcher earns a promotion of his own.

Joey Marciano via Twitter

While these four Salukis battle for a spot in the Major Leagues, SIU baseball looks to see what players on its roster will step up to fill their shoes. There is no question that Whitmer, Lambert, Hutchins and Marciano will be tough to replace, but Southern has a deep talent base of young and veteran players alike looking forward to bringing a winning 2018 season home to Carbondale — and up their own draft stock in the process.

Sports writer Denton “Gio” Giovenco can be reached at dgiovenco@dailyegyptian.com or on Twitter @DentonGiovenco.

To stay up to date with all your SIU sports news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

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