Three More Dirtbags Taken on Final Day of MLB Draft
A trio of Dirtbags pitchers were drafted Wednesday: Eli Villalobos (14th Round, Marlins), Clayton Andrews (17th Round, Brewers) and Chris Rivera (33rd Round, Cardinals).
June 6, 2018
LONG BEACH, Calif. - On the final day of the 2018 Major League Baseball Draft, three Long Beach State pitchers were selected by big league clubs. Juniors Eli Villalobos, Clayton Andrews and Chris Rivera were all selected by National League organizations on Wednesday.
Villalobos, the hard-throwing righthander from La Habra, Calif. who was converted to a pitcher when he arrived at Long Beach State from Golden West College, was selected in the 14th Round by the Miami Marlins. After beginning the season as a weekend starter, Villalobos moved back to the back end of the bullpen and thrived in that role. He led all Dirtbags pitchers with 28 appearances, entering 26 games out of the bullpen. As a reliever, Villalobos was 2-2 with a 2.25 ERA, striking out a batter per inning in 36.0 innings of work while allowing opposing batters to hit just .185 against him.
Andrews had a historic season on the mound for the Dirtbags, winning five Big West Pitcher of the Week awards and becoming the first player ever to win four straight. The lefthander from Rohnert Park, Calif. was a two-way standout who served the Saturday starter and primary centerfielder for the Dirtbags in 2018. He was selected as a pitcher in the 17th Round by the Milwaukee Brewers. It's the second time Andrews has been drafted in his career after he was a 40th Round selection by the Los Angeles Dodgers in last year's draft.
On the mound, Andrews finished the year with a 1.99 ERA and a Big West-high 118 strikeouts in 99.2 IP. That translates to an impressive 10.66 strikeouts per nine innings. Andrews had five starts with 10 or more K's this season, with a career high of 13 at UC Riverside on May 5. He also impressed with seven strong innings at Texas A&M back on Mar. 9, striking out 10 Aggies. In his final start of the season, Andrews tossed a complete game shutout to lead the Dirtbags to a 1-0 win over Cal State Fullerton, striking out 11 while allowing just six baserunners. He was also a first team All-Big West selection and the first player in conference history to be named Player of the Week and Pitcher of the Week during the same season.
The final Dirtbag off the board was the junior closer Rivera, who was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 33rd Round. Rivera is a native of Watsonville, Calif. and is second in Long Beach State history with 37 saves in his career. He was used in multiple roles this season, but excelled in his familiar spot as a late-game reliever for the Dirtbags. During non-conference play, when he was used exclusively as the team's closer, Rivera posted a 0.68 ERA in 13.1 innings pitched across 12 appearances. He collected eight saves and recorded an impressive 19 strikeouts against just three walks. On the season, Rivera struck out 45 batters in 36.2 innings, while only issuing five walks.
Including Jarren Duran, who was drafted in the seventh round by Boston on Tuesday, the Dirtbags had a total of four players selected in this year's draft. Long Beach State has now had multiple players selected in 18 consecutive drafts dating back to 2001.
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