Major League Baseball teams selected two Utah pitchers on the second day of the 2014 draft, with right hander Mitch Watrous going in the eighth round to the San Diego Padres and left hander Nick Green picked up by the Kansas City Royals in the tenth round.
Watrous and Green are the fifth and sixth players to be drafted in the first 10 rounds during the Bill Kinneberg era, joining the Angels' C.J. Cron (first round, 2011), Stephen Fife (third round, 2008), Tyler Wagner (fourth round, 2012) and Rick Anton (eighth round, 2011).
Watrous, who will forgo his senior year at Utah to sign with the Padres, is a two-time honorable mention All-Pac-12 selection. He finished his season with a 3.91 ERA and a team-leading 76 strikeouts, ranking ninth in the conference. Watrous was second in the conference in strikeouts looking (32) and ranked 10th in innings pitched through the regular season (96 1/3). Watrous had Utah's only shutout of the season, pitching seven innings in Utah's 12-0 win over Nevada, allowing just two hits with seven strikeouts. He had a season-high nine strikeouts against Oregon, and struck out eight vs. Michigan State and USC. Watrous' three victories this season came over UT Arlington, UCLA, and Nevada. Watrous finished his Utes career with a 3.40 ERA, nine wins, and three saves. He recorded 172 career strikeouts and has three career shutouts.
"I'm just overwhelmed right now," Watrous said. "I'm grateful for this opportunity. I never thought I would get this chance, and it's a huge blessing. I'm thankful for everyone who has helped me along the way, including my family, my coaches and my teammates.
Green was Utah's go-to closer this season, with a team-high 23 appearances on the mound, including several key appearances in extra-inning wins this past season. Green finished the regular season ninth in the Pac-12 with six saves and was tied for eighth in the conference in games finished (18). The lefty hurler had a 4.26 ERA with two wins, and held opponents to a .256 batting average (second on the team). He walked just 12 during the season with 38 strikeouts. Green pitched a career-high seven innings against 10th-ranked Indiana after entering in the eighth inning, allowing one unearned run on three hits with a career-high nine strikeouts, earning him Utah's first-ever Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week honor. Green recorded the win in Utah's 13-inning victory over USC, pitching five shutout innings with four strikeouts. He also recorded an extra-inning win at Washington State, entering in the ninth and pitching 4 2/3 shutout innings with five strikeouts. He earned the save in Utah's win over UCLA.
Over four years, Green had eight career saves and four career wins with a 3.94 earned run average, pitching in 70 games. He had 86 career strikeouts.
"This is unbelievable," Green said. "I'm honestly speechless. I never thought I would have gotten the opportunity to continue playing baseball. I thought playing in college was going to be a fun way to pass four years, and now I'm here. I'm going to miss the camaraderie of everyone at Utah. Our team is something else - I've never been a part of a group of guys so close. Everyone is there for everyone else."