One of the biggest heroes of Pitt’s Cinderella run in the 2018 ACC Tournament has signed up for another go-around.
Right-hand pitcher Derek West will return to Pitt baseball for the 2019, he announced on Twitter on Monday.
West, who was a midweek starter and reliever for the Panthers this season, posting a 3.24 ERA in 50 innings. Those numbers and his mid-90s fastball were good enough for the Atlanta Braves to select him in the 28th round of the 2018 MLB Draft.
“Derek has the body, the arm and the potential to be very effective pitcher professionally,” Pitt head coach Joe Jordano said after West was drafted.
But West, an Orange City, Florida native, has just one year of college ball under his belt after back-to-back seasons lost to injury. With two seasons of eligibility left, he decided to return to Pitt.
“I would like to thank my friends and family for all the support and congratulations on my draft selection,” West said. “After some serious thought, I am going to wait to start my professional career and I will be returning to the University of Pittsburgh to further my degree and develop another year as a player and person. Hail to Pitt!”
West was used in some bigger situations down the stretch for the Panthers this season, including five no-hit innings of relief against top-ranked North Carolina in the ACC Tournament. West will form a trio of returning starting pitchers, along with Blair Calvo and Dan Hammer.
West was the third of five Pitt players selected in the 2018 draft. Four of the five are underclassmen, and West is the first player to make a decision one way or the other on whether he will turn professional or not. Infielder Liam Sabino (35th Rd — St. Louis Cardinals) and right-handed pitchers Yaya Chentouf (36th Rd — Detroit Tigers) and R.J. Freure (6th Rd — Houston Astros) have yet to make their decision.
Senior right-handed pitcher Matt Pidich will likely sign with the Cincinnati Reds after he was selected in the eighth round Pitt commits Mason Ronan (LHP — Penn Cambria HS) and Billy Corcoran (RHP — Malvern Prep) were also drafted and have not announced a decision on signing.