Pitt right-handed pitcher R.J. Freure has signed a professional contract with the World Series champion Houston Astros.
Freure was the Astros’ sixth round pick in the 2018 MLB Draft and was the highest-drafted Pitt player.
“It’s a relief,” Freure told Mark Berman of KRIV-TV in Houston. “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.”
Freure, 20, just finished his second season with the Panthers, and put up a 4.30 ERA in 58 2/3 innings, mostly in relief. He struck out 95 batters and his 14.57 strikeouts per nine innings led the team.
The Burlington, Ontario native entered college at 19, which made him draft eligible after just two seasons.
He’s the third Pitt player to turn pro following the 2018 season, joining junior pitcher Yaya Chentouf (Detroit Tigers) and senior pitcher Matt Pidich (Cincinnati Reds).
Right-handed pitcher Derek West and high school commits Mason Ronan and Billy Corcoran all elected to stay with the Panthers.
Redshirt junior infielder Liam Sabino, who was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals, will be the last drafted Pitt player to make his decision. Sabino has until July 6 to sign.