Pitt baseball pitchers R.J. Freure and Matt Pidich were drafted on the second day of the the 2018 MLB Draft on Tuesday.
Freuere, a sophomore from Burlington, Ontario, was taken in the sixth round with the 192nd overall selection by the defending World Series champion Houston Astros. Freuere appeared in a team-high 27 games for the Panthers this season, mostly as a reliever. He pitched 58 2/3 innings and posted a 4.30 ERA while striking out 95 and walking 35.
“It’s an honor to be given this opportunity to play professionally and I would like to thank my coaches for helping me and showing me how to become a better player and person on and off the field,” Freure said. “I’d also like to thank my family and friends for always being there during both the good and bad times. Mostly, I want to thank my parents for everything they have done for me and allowing me to pursue my dream. I am extremely thankful for this opportunity.”
“In my opinion, RJ has a major league pitch in his breaking ball, and couple that with a mid to upper 90s fastball, when he develops his consistency and potential of a quality third pitch, he’s a big league pitcher sooner than later,” said head coach Joe Jordano.
Pidich, a senior from Aberdeen, New Jersey, was selected with the 192nd pick in the eight round by the Cincinnati Reds. Pidich was Pitt’s No. 1 starter throughout the year. He started 15 games and pitched 91 innings, striking out a team-high 99 batters and maintaining a 3.05 ERA.
“I would like to thank the Cincinnati Reds organization for selecting me,” Pidich said. “I am truly grateful for this opportunity to continue to play the game I love. For as long as I can remember it has always been a dream of mine to play professional baseball and now that dream has come true. I owe a huge thank you to my parents for all of their encouragement and guidance since I first picked up a baseball. I would also like to thank all of my coaches, both past and present, my teammates, my family and friends for all of their support along the way. I am very excited and looking forward to the next chapter of my baseball career.”
“Matt is as close to a complete pitcher as we have on our staff,” Jordano said. “He’s a competitor. He’s a complete pitcher and his very meticulous work ethic and attention to detail will benefit him throughout the next chapter of his baseball career. I look forward to watching his progress.”
Pidich started the first game of Pitt’s ACC Tournament run, earning a win in Pitt’s 2-1 upset victory over Georgia Tech. Freure earned the save in that game. He also pitched in Pitt’s upset win over No. 1 seed North Carolina to earn Pitt a berth in the semifinal.
As a senior, Pidich will likely sign quickly with the Reds. Freure, with two more years of eligibility remaining, can be more patient in working out a deal with the Astros if he’d like to. The deadline for both players to sign is July 15.
The selections mark the sixth straight year Pitt has had a player drafted, and Pitt has had multiple players selected in each of those seasons. Freure’s sixth round selection with the highest draft pick for Pitt since Charles LeBlanc was taken in the fourth round in 2016.
Rounds 11 through 40 of the draft will take place on Wednesday, when several more Pitt players are expected to be selected, including infielder Liam Sabino, who had been widely considered to be Pitt’s top prospect. Other draft eligible Panthers include senior outfielder Frank Maldonado, junior relief pitcher Yaya Chentouf, redshirt junior starting pitcher Blair Calvo, redshirt sophomore pitcher Derek West and redshirt sophomore infielder David Yanni.