June 7, 2011
Fullerton, Calif. - The Big West Conference Player of the Year Nick Ramirez was the first of nine Cal State Fullerton players drafted, and the first of three Titans to be selected in the fourth round of the 2011 Major League Baseball First Year Players Draft held in New York from June 6-8.
The nine draftees match the Titans' seventh largest draft class in school history. Fullerton also had nine players taken in 2010.
Junior first baseman and left-handed pitcher Nick Ramirez (Anaheim, Calif., Katella HS) was selected by the Milwaukee Brewers as the 131st overall pick just one spot above junior right-hander Tyler Pill (Covina, Calif., Covina HS) who was taken by the New York Mets as the 132nd player. Junior right-hander Noe Ramirez (East Los Angeles, Calif., Alhambra HS) followed at 142, being drafted by the Boston Red Sox to complete the fourth-round trifecta.
Junior right-handed pitcher Jake Floethe (Martinez, Calif., Fresno State) was taken by Tampa Bay Rays in round six (210 overall) and junior righty Colin O'Connell (Riverside, Calif, Arlington HS) became the fifth Titan taken in the draft, an eighth-round pick by the Oakland A's at 256 overall.
Seventeen rounds passed before the next Titan player was chosen. The Chicago White sox took junior right-handed pitcher Chris Devenski (Santa Ana, Calif., Golden West College) in the 25th round with junior southpaw David Hurlbut (Concord, Calif., Diablo Valley College - 28th round, Minnesota) and junior infielder Joe Terry (Long Beach, Calif., Cerritos College - 30th round, Cincinnati) wrapping things up on day two of the 50-round selection process. Senior right-handed pitcher Raymond Hernandez (Elk Grove, Calif., Cosumnes River College) was the last Titan selected on Wednesday, going 1444 overall in the 49th round to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Third-team All-American utility player Nick Ramirez, who will likely be considered as a position player as a professional, hit .291 and led the Titans in home runs (9) and RBI (49), hits (62) slugging (.507) and fielding percentage (.992) in 2011.
He backed his plate presences with a dominant performance from the rubber, making him a semifinalist for USA Baseball's Golden Spikes Award. Ramirez was a perfect 16-for-16 in save opportunities and tied former Titan All-American and former big league All-Star Chad Cordero as the Titans' career saves leader with 34. He finished the season 1-1 with a 2.13 ERA in 22 appearances on the mound.
Pill was another steady two-way player for Cal State Fullerton, going 7-1 with a 2.28 ERA and a conference-leading 110 strikeouts, all the while hitting .323 with homer and 30 runs batted in. Pill compiled a 110-to-22 (5-to-1) strikeout-to-walk ratio over a team-leading 98.2 innings. He too, was up for a national player of the year award, the National Collegiate Baseball Writer's Association's Dick Howser Award. He will be looked at primarily as a pitcher.
Pill earned the only Titan win in the recent Fullerton Regional with a gutsy 8-inning, 11-strikeout performance on the mound, and was 2-for-3 with two-RBI at the plate in the Titans' tournament opener against Illinois.
Pill, comes from good baseball genes that has seen his father, Michael (2nd round out of high school), and his brother, Brett (7th round of the 2006 draft), spend time in the professional ranks. Brett, also a former Titan, is in his sixth season in the San Francisco Giants organization and is currently excelling at the Triple-A level with the Fresno Grizzlies.
This is the second time PIll has been drafted. He was also a 38th round pick for Colorado back in 2008.
All-Big West first-teamer Noe Ramirez led the Titans with eight wins while posting a minuscule 1.69 ERA over 90.2 innings. The righty struck out 103 batters on the year propelling him into fourth place on the Cal State Fullerton career Top 10 list.
The soon-to-be Red Sox prospect, Ramirez, talked to MLB.com's Jason Mastodonato on Tuesday.
"It was a surreal feeling, man," Ramirez said about being drafted by Boston.
"The Red Sox, it's a great organization, great tradition, great history. I'm real pumped to be part of that now.
"I still feel pretty bad about being eliminated [from last weekend's NCAA Regional], because I definitely had bigger expectations for our team. It's tough, but this definitely brought me up."
After sitting out a season due to NCAA transfer rules, the right-hander Floethe compiled a 6-3 record with two saves in 19 appearances as both a starter and reliever for the Titan pitching staff. A national champion with Fresno State in 2008, Floethe made four weekend starts for the Titans in 2011, with his most impressive coming on Apr. 1 against UC Davis (8.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R).
Floethe was a 29th round pick for Arizona back in 2010.
O'Connell's compiled a 7-3 record with a 2.44 ERA and was among the best strikeout to walk ratios in the nation, striking out 55 and walking just 8. He made 16 appearances with 12 of those coming as starts. In his four relief appearances, the lanky right-hander turned 11.1 innings of scoreless innings including a 5-inning, 9-strikeout effort over UC Santa Barbara on Apr.16.
Despite working just 21.2 innings in 2011, Devenski compiled a 2-0 record with two saves 15 appearances. He struck out 26 and walked 8.
Hurlbut, a 35th-round draft pick for Minnesota back in 2009, was 2-1 with a 4.08 ERA in 10 appearances for the Titans in 2011. His best outing of the year resulted in his first win, a 5-inning, 3-hit start at Hawaii on Mar. 27.
Terry was drafted for the third time in his collegiate career on Tuesday. He was a 17th round pick by Seattle in 2009 and an 8th round pick by Chicago (AL) in 2010 while at Cerritos College. He was the everyday third baseman for Fullerton the first half of the season before a hamate-bone injury sidelined him the rest of the way.
Terry batted just .257 with no home runs and nine RBI in 26 games.
Hernandez put up solid numbers out of the bullpen this year for the Titans, going 3-0 while posting the team's best ERA at 1.37 over 18 appearances. The right-hander did not allow a run over his final seven appearances (7.0 IP) and didn't allow more than one run in any of his outings in 2011.
2011 Cal State Fullerton Draftees
Nick Ramirez - Milwaukee, 4th round, 131 overall
Tyler Pill - New York Mets, 4th round, 132 overall
Noe Ramirez - Boston, 4th Round, 142 overall
Jake Floethe - Tampa Bay, 6th round, 210 overall
Colin O'Connell - Oakland, 8th round, 256 overall
Chris Devenski - Chicago White Sox, 25th round, 771 overall
David Hurlbut - Minnesota, 28th round, 868 overall
Joe Terry - Cincinnati, 30th round, 925 overall
Raymond Hernandez - Arizona, 49th round, 1444 overall