Sept. 5, 2002
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona State top starting pitcher Mike Esposito has agreed to terms with the Colorado Rockies after being selected in the 12th round of the Major League Baseball June Amateur Draft. Esposito was in Denver last week and is now in Zebulon, N.C., with the Double-A Carolina Mudcats. He is not planned to pitch until instructional league this winter at the team's minor league facility in Tucson, Ariz.
Esposito, who was expected to start classes for the first day of school (Aug. 26) and remains on tract to graduate in four years, will reportedly receive a signing bonus of close to $750,000, which is equivalent to second-round money. The Sun Devils were counting on the junior-to-be to once again be the ace of the pitching staff and head coach Pat Murphy learned only a week before classes started that the Rockies had begun negotiating with Esposito.
"I am happy for Mike and his family as this is a great opportunity for him to pursue his dream of playing major league baseball," commented Murphy on the loss of his top returning pitcher. "It obviously leaves a hole for us in the pitching staff, but this is the business we are in and we will just have to adjust. He is a great kid and we wish him the best down the road. Hopefully the program served him well."
Esposito compiled a career 15-8 record with a 3.91 ERA. He made 35 appearances and 32 starts, posting three complete games and struck out 170 batters. After battling back from a 'Tommy John' arm in jury he endured at the start of the 2000 season, Esposito made 30 consecutive starts on the mound dating back to Mar. 4, 2001 vs. LSU.
A 2001 second-team summer All-American (Baseball America) while going 3-1 with a 1.56 ERA with the USA Baseball National Team, Esposito entered the 2002 season as a preseason All-American and was ranked as high as the No. 8 college prospect in the nation. As a redshirt sophomore in 2002, Esposito went 9-6 with a 3.72 ERA while being named an honorable mention All-Pac-10 selection. He ranked third in the Pac-10 with 93 strikeouts and was eighth with his 3.72 ERA. The native of Las Vegas (Cimarron Memorial) was a fifth-round selection in the 1999 draft by the Cincinnati Reds.