It had been a few years since a Penn State baseball player was selected in the MLB Draft.
That changed on Saturday.
Jim Haley and Jack Anderson became the first Nittany Lions since 2012 to be picked, as they had their names called on the draft’s third and final day. Haley, a junior third baseman, was selected in the 19th round at 570th overall by the Tampa Bay Rays, while Anderson, a senior closer, was taken by the Seattle Mariners in the 23rd round at 687th overall.
Haley and Anderson are the first draft picks in head coach Rob Cooper’s three-year tenure.
“We are extremely proud of Jim Haley and Jack Anderson,” Cooper said in a press release. “Every young player dreams of playing professional baseball, and these two have the opportunity to follow their dreams. We will miss Jack and support Jim in whichever decision he makes, and we are so excited for both of them.”
Haley still has one year of eligibility, so he has the choice to either return to Penn State or sign with Tampa Bay.
The Upper Darby native has made 143 starts in 146 appearances for the Nittany Lions, and owns a .297 career average. He has also accumulated two home runs, 28 doubles, seven triples, 64 RBIs, 97 runs and 25 stolen bases in his Penn State career so far.
Haley is the first-ever Nittany Lion to be drafted by the Rays.
Anderson is also the first-ever Penn State product to be selected by Seattle.
The Penn State all-times saves record-holder (25) never allowed a home run in 165 2/3 innings pitched for the Nittany Lions. Anderson set Penn State’s single-season saves record with 13 in 2016.
The deadline for all amateur draft picks to sign with their teams is July 15.