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Former Pitt pitcher R.J. Freure signs with Houston Astros

The Houston Astros selected former Pitt pitcher R.J. Freure in the sixth round of the 2018 MLB draft on June 5, and on Monday, Mark Berman of Houston’s Fox 26 reported that Freure had officially signed with the organization after undergoing a physical.

“It’s a relief,” Freure told Berman. “I’m ecstatic. It’s so cool. It’s a dream come true. To work for an organization like the Astros, it’s no better way to start pro ball.”

At 192nd overall, Freure was Pitt’s highest draft selection and one of just two Panthers taken in the first 10 rounds. All told, five members of Pitt’s 2018 roster were selected in the draft in addition to two 2019 commits, and of those seven players, six impacted the pitching staff.

The two commits — pitchers Billy Corcoran and Mason Ronan — both opted to stay, as did rising junior pitcher Derek West. However, Pitt lost one of its most efficient relievers in Yaya Chentouf as well as staff ace Matt Pidich, although Pidich had exhausted his eligibility in 2018.

Freure was only two seasons into his Pitt career, but he had already earned a reputation as one of the team’s most reliable bullpen arms. As a freshman in 2017, he led all relief pitchers with 46 strikeouts over 38 innings. He also gave up zero runs 14 times in 27 appearances as a sophomore and finished his career with a 4.47 ERA and 141 strikeouts over 96.2 innings.

Since the conclusion of the 2018 season, Freure has been pitching for the Chatham Anglers of the Cape Cod Baseball League. His next stop will be with one of the Astros’ minor league affiliates.