This is what former State College infielder Ryan Karstetter has always hoped for.
After garnering interest from professional teams with a productive sophomore season at a Florida junior college, Karstetter was selected by the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday in the 19th round of the MLB draft. He was the No. 575 overall pick.
“You dream about it, and all you ask for is your shot,” Karstetter said. “The Tigers stepped up and I’m glad they did. They’re a great organization, and they’re excited to have me.”
Karstetter left State College after two seasons to continue his high school baseball career at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., taking advantage of the weather to develop his “raw” skills. He returned to Bradenton after one season at the University of Virginia, continuing his career at State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota.
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Karstetter took advantage of his opportunity at the Florida junior college, as the sophomore led the team with a .363 batting average and 49 RBIs in 57 games in 2017.
Karstetter became the second former State College player to be taken in this year’s draft — former Little Lions pitcher Nick Raquet was drafted by the Washington Nationals in the third round Tuesday. Karstetter, a 6-foot-4 third baseman, plans to sign with the Tigers and looks forward to chasing his dream in professional baseball.
He said the Tigers have discussed starting him in the Gulf Coast League and eventually sending him to the Connecticut Tigers of the New York-Penn League, where the State College Spikes play.
Although he didn’t finish his high school career at State College, Karstetter — who also played basketball here — said it was tough to leave home. Still, he continues to hang out with his former Little Lions teammates.
“I loved State High,” Karstetter said. “This is always home.”
Karstetter thrived at IMG Academy as a high school upperclassman, getting plenty of repetitions in the baseball weather in Florida and training in first-class facilities. He hit .469 in 2014 and .412 in 2015 on his way to team MVP honors in both seasons at the Bradenton school known as a sports training destination.
When Karstetter chose to leave Virginia — he hit .225 with 17 RBIs in 51 games in his lone season with the Cavaliers — he found a home back in Bradenton at State College of Florida.
“If you’re really smart, you’re in Silicon Valley,” Karstetter said. “If you’re a baseball player, you’d like to go to Florida. That’s just where you want to give yourself the best chance.”
Karstetter credited his parents for their support during his career as they traveled around the country for him to chase his dream. He sacrificed and worked hard to become a professional prospect, and he’s ready to learn and play every day this summer in the Detroit Tigers organization.
“When you just get to do one thing 100 percent of the time and see how good you can get, that’s exciting,” Karstetter said. “I’m looking forward to that.”
Nittany Lion selected by Royals
Penn State junior pitcher Sal Biasi was selected by the Kansas City Royals in the 11th round of the MLB draft Wednesday.
Biasi, who was the 330th overall pick, went 5-5 with a 3.48 ERA and a team-high 88 strikeouts in 2017, earning second-team All-Big Ten honors. The right-hander is the program’s highest draft pick since the San Francisco Giants selected Joe Kurrasch in the eighth round in 2012.
Biasi is 10-13 with a 3.41 ERA in his Penn State career.
Biasi and former State College infielder Ryan Karstetter were the lone players with central Pennsylvania connections selected in the draft Wednesday.