University of Louisville junior lefthanded pitcher and first baseman Brendan McKay became the highest draft selection in school history on Monday night going fourth overall to the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2017 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. Joining McKay as a first day selection was Cardinals infielder Drew Ellis, who was selected 44th overall in the second round by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Monday marked the third straight season a Louisville player has been selected in the first round of the MLB Draft and the second consecutive season the Cardinals have produced a top five selection. McKay was chosen one position higher than previous school record holder Corey Ray, who was selected fifth overall in the 2016 MLB Draft by the Milwaukee Brewers. Overall, 11 players from ACC schools were chosen on the first day of the 2017 MLB Draft, tied for the most from any conference.
A native of Darlington, Pennsylvania, McKay has been tabbed as the 2017 National Player of the Year by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball newspaper while also earning his third straight John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year award. On the mound, he has a 10-3 record with a 2.34 ERA and a school record 140 strikeouts in 104.0 innings pitched. During his three-year collegiate career, McKay has accumulated a 31-10 record with a 2.15 ERA and 385 strikeouts, the most ever for a Louisville pitcher.
At the plate, the 2017 ACC Player of the Year has a .343 batting average, 17 home runs, 13 doubles, 56 RBIs and a .464 on-base percentage in 60 starts as a hitter this season. In 179 career starts and 186 total appearances as a hitter, McKay has a .328 career batting average with 27 home runs, 46 doubles and 131 RBIs.
Ellis leads the Cardinals with a .367 batting average, 20 home runs, 18 doubles, 61 RBI and .729 slugging percentage. The Jeffersonville, Indiana native has started all 62 games this season splitting his time between first base and third base. Ellis was an All-ACC First Team selection and was chosen as a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award and the Dick Howser Trophy. He was also selected as the National Player of the Month in April by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association after hitting .455 (30-for-66) in 19 games with five doubles, one triple and eight homers, 22 RBI and a .532 on-base percentage.
The 2017 MLB Draft continues Tuesday with rounds 3-10 starting at 1 p.m., ET, before concluding Wednesday at noon ET with rounds 11-40.
The No. 7 national seed Cardinals (52-10) will continue their season at the 2017 College World Series against Texas A&M on Sunday at 2 p.m., ET at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha.
LHP/1B Brendan McKay (Darlington, Pa./Blackhawk HS) – 1st Round – 4th overall – Tampa Bay Rays
3B Drew Ellis (Jeffersonville, Ind./Jeffersonville HS) – 2nd Round – 44th overall – Arizona Diamondbacks
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