As the Pitt baseball season progressed, star pitcher T.J. Zeuch was looking more and more like a first-round draft pick. On Thursday, that became a reality.
Zeuch was officially taken with the No. 21 overall pick by the Toronto Blue Jays in the first round of the MLB Draft Thursday night. That makes him only the second Panther to be selected in the first round in the program's history and he is the highest Pitt draft pick of all time.
Zeuch ended up being taken only one spot ahead of the hometown Pittsburgh Pirates - the team Baseball America projected would take him last month. We'll never know if the Bucs would have taken him, but it would have been interesting to find out had he dropped past Toronto.
The Pitt star made the All-ACC Second Team this season after going 6-1 with a team-best among starters 3.10 ERA. Zeuch's strikeout rate of just over one per inning (74 Ks in 69 2/3 innings) was also best on the team out of all of the starters. He got off to an impressive 4-0 start to the season and despite some bumps in the road, had a strong year in the difficult ACC.
He pitched in only ten games this year after missing the early part of the season due to injury. There wasn't any news out there earlier as to why he was missing games but the official Pitt bio now confirms it was because of an injury.
Zeuch's stock continued to rise after last season. In January, he was named as one of Baseball America's top 50 college prospects. And as mentioned above, the publication projected him as a first-round pick by May.
Pitt still has a ways to go to make real noise in the ACC, though they have their fair share of wins against ranked teams in the past two seasons. But high draft picks such as Zeuch should help make it easier to get better talent down the road.