June 5, 2001
TEMPE, Ariz. -- In the first day of the 2001 Major League First Year Player Draft, seven Arizona State University baseball players were drafted in the first 20 rounds. Sun Devil standouts Jon Switzer, Drew Friedberg, Casey Myers, Chris Duffy, Brooks Conrad, Mel Stocker and Bryce Kartler all improved their draft status.
Arizona State baseball has continuously dominated the Major League draft, now having had 296 players selected in the annual amateur draft. In addition to its 21 first-round picks in school history, ASU has had three No. 1 overall draft picks and has had two players (Eddie Bane and Bob Horner) go directly from the draft to the Major Leagues. Arizona State has produced 75 Major League players and currently has seven players on MLB rosters.
Junior left-handed pitcher Jon Switzer was the first Sun Devil to hear his name called Tuesday, being selected as the third pick in the second round and 47th overall by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Switzer, who was 23-13 in his three-year ASU career, was an All-American in 2000 and played for Team USA last summer. He was a hard-luck 5-6 in 2001 with a 4.06 ERA. A native of Houston, Texas, Switzer improved dramatically in the draft since being selected in the in the 26th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1998 after his senior year of high school.
"This is an exciting day for me and my family and it is a real nice feeling to see all of the hard work pay off," said Switzer from his Mother's house in Houston. "It is just a sweet feeling to have. I can't wait to get out there and start playing."
Possibly the biggest surprise of the 2001 season was the left arm of senior relief pitcher Drew Friedberg. The senior LHP rebounded from a shaky junior season, turned away a chance to sign with his hometown Milwaukee Brewers after being drafted in the 29th round last year and came back for his senior season where he shined on the mound. The Middleton, Wisc., native led ASU with a 2.08 ERA and was 4-2 with one save. He improved his draft status dramatically with his stellar season and it paid off when he was selected in the sixth round (174th overall) by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Friedberg was also drafted out of high school in the 25th round by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 1997.
"I am so pumped right now," said Friedberg from his home in Middleton, Wisc. "I made a commitment to come back for my senior year and I had the confidence that I could improve in the draft. My coaches really supported me and I just had a great end to my college career at Arizona State. The third time (being drafted) was easily the most exciting."
Two-time Pac-10 Player of the Year Casey Myers jumped from the 30th round last year (Milwaukee Brewers) all the way to a ninth round selection by Oakland this year. The senior All-American catcher hit .395 during 2001 and was a lifetime .384 hitter during his career in Tempe. Ranking third in ASU history in hits with 313 and second in both Pac-10 and ASU history in RBI with 275, Myers will most likely report to Oakland's short-season, Single-A team in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Two Sun Devil players were picked up in the eighth round in nearly back-to-back picks. Junior center fielder Chris Duffy was the eighth round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates (234 overall), improving drastically from his 43rd round selection last year out of South Mountain JC. Duffy hit .372 in 2001 for the Sun Devils with four home runs and was named to the Pac-10 All-Conference team. Junior second baseman Brooks Conrad (Spring Valley, Calif.) was drafted two picks later (236 overall) by the Houston Astros. Conrad, a two-time All-Pac-10 selection, hit .278 with four home runs for ASU in 2001.
Mel Stocker (Tucson, Ariz.) was drafted for the first time in his career with a 16th round selection (475 overall) by the Kansas City Royals and sophomore Bryce Kartler (eligible because 21 years old) was selected in the 20th round by the St. Louis Cardinals (584 overall). ASU head coach Pat Murphy, who announced publicly Tuesday that he will remain the head coach of the Sun Devils after turning down a job offer from the University of Hawai'i, expects juniors Switzer, Conrad and Duffy to all sign professional contracts, while he is uncertain on the status of Stocker and Kartler returning for ASU in 2002.
ASU Players in the 2001 MLB Draft On Tuesday:
2001 ASU Draft Picks:
Player Round Overall Team Previous Draft Selection
Jon Switzer 2nd 47 Tampa Bay 26th Round (1998) Drew Friedberg 6th 174 Pittsburgh 25th Round (1997), 29th (2000) Chris Duffy 8th 234 Pittsburgh 43rd Round (2000) Brooks Conrad 8th 236 Houston Not Drafted Casey Myers 9th 282 Oakland 30th Round (2000) Mel Stocker 16th 475 Kansas City Not Drafted Bryce Kartler 20th 584 St. Louis Not Drafted
Copy By Jeff R. Evans
ASU Media Relations