SANFORD – It was a busy two days for Mainer alumni as seven more former standouts from six different colleges were drafted by six different MLB teams.

Following Logan Wyatt (Louisville, Ky./Louisville), who was taken with the 51st overall pick by the San Francisco Giants, John Rizer (Cypress, Texas/Texas Christian) was next off the board. The Baltimore Orioles snapped him up with the first pick of the seventh round. In his time in Sanford, Rizer was one of the most feared hitters in the NECBL. An All-Star Game starter and Second-Team All-NECBL selection a season ago, he batted .305 with a team-leading seven home runs, 25 runs batted in, 40 hits, 19 extra-base hits and 15 stolen bases.

Rizer carried his strong form into his senior season at TCU, leading the Horned Frogs with 11 round-trippers, while his 39 RBIs, 76 hits, 29 extra-base hits, 47 runs, .918 on-base plus slugging and 129 total bases were not too far off the top of the team leaderboards. His efforts were rewarded with an All-Big Twelve Honorable Mention award. He was a key contributor in the NCAA Postseason as well, batting .316 in the Fayetteville regional with a home run and three driven in.

Left-handed pitcher Jackson Gillis (Wilmington, Mass./Vanderbilt), a 12th round selection of the Milwaukee Brewers, was next to go for the Moose. Although he only appeared five times on the mound wearing green and yellow in 2017, he made them all count. In 19.1 innings pitched, Gillis posted a stellar 10.24 strikeout-per-nine-innings ratio and .188 batting average against. He also compiled an 0-1 record and 3.72 earned run average.

The next Mainer to get the call was Jack Weisenburger (Rockford, Mich./Michigan), a member of last season’s two-headed bullpen monster. The Oakland Athletics made him their 20th round selection. An electrifying fastball saw Weisenburger get plenty of action late in ballgames as he finished tied for the team lead in saves with five. He also led the Mainers in appearances with 16 and punched out 29 batters, good for second on the Moose. Along with Rizer, Weisenburger represented the Northern Division in the 2018 NECBL All-Star Game.

Just four rounds later, another 2018 All-Star starter and First Team All-NECBL honoree Jake Alu (Hamilton, N.J./Boston College) went to the Washington Nationals. He made New England League pitchers pay by posting a team-high .327 batting average while mixing in 11 RBIs, 30 hits, 16 runs, six stolen bases and a 1.083 walk-to-strikeout ratio. His walk-off double against the North Adams SteepleCats was one of the most memorable moments from last year’s team.

The following spring, as a junior, Alu picked up right where he left off in Sanford. He topped the Eagles with a .343 batting average, 81 hits, and .889 OPS, placing second in home runs (4), RBIs (40), doubles (18) and stolen bases (11). His performance placed him on the All-ACC Third Team.

In the 30th round, Ed Baram (Saddle Brook, N.J./Adelphi), an ace in the 2018 starting rotation, joined Weisenburger as an Oakland Athletics draft pick. Baram dominated on the bump as a Mainer, registering a 1.37 ERA, 44 strikeouts, and an outstanding 12.12 strikeouts-per-nine-inning ratio in seven starts with 32.2 innings pitched. He was one of seven Mainers to feature in last season’s All-Star Game.

Returning to Adelphi for his senior year, Baram continued to impress. He accumulated a 7-2 record while leading the Panthers with a 1.32 ERA, fanning 79 batters in 75 innings. At season’s end, he was named the Northeast Ten Conference Pitcher of the Year, the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association East Region Pitcher of the Year, and the Division II Conference Commissioner’s Association’s Regional Pitcher of the Year.

Another Michigan man, Jimmy Kerr (Scottsdale, Ariz./Michigan), heard his name called by the Detroit Tigers, who grabbed him in the 33rd round. Famous around Sanford for his walkup song, “Fire” by Louis the Child, his play matched the song’s title. Kerr finished with the second highest batting average on the Mainers in 2017, slugging two home runs and knocking in 19 runs as well. He also racked up 32 hits, 12 of which for extra bases, 15 runs, 15 walks and three stolen bases en route to an All-Star nod.

His career with the Wolverines has been equally impressive. This season, he slugged a team-leading 12 home runs while topping the roster with 56 RBIs. In addition, he recorded 64 hits, 26 for extra bases, 46 runs, 41 walks, five stolen bases and 114 total bases. At the end of the regular season, Kerr received All-Big Ten Third Team Honors.

Despite being drafted, both Kerr and Weisenburger are looking to extend their Michigan careers for as long as possible. With a College World Series berth on the line, they will face off later tonight against No. 1  UCLA Bruins in a win-or-go-home Super Regional game.

Last but not least, in the draft’s 40th and final round, Nick Silva (Miami, Fla./Maine) joined the Chicago White Sox. He pitched in just one game for the Mainers in 2017, tossing 2.1 innings in relief against the Upper Valley Nighthawks.

Silva’s draft selection wraps up a fine career at the University of Maine. As a senior, he tossed a team-high 72.2 innings, striking out 59 batters and holding his opposition to just a .250 batting average. He concluded his last collegiate season with a 4-6 record with two complete games under his belt, another team high.

Mathews

In addition to the seven former Moose selected, two players on the current roster heard their names called on day three. Grant Matthews (New Orleans, La./Tulane) was scheduled to join the team later this week, but he was taken by the Atlanta Braves in the 37th round and elected to sign. Although the Mainers would have loved to have him, they wish him the best of luck and hope to see him play at SunTrust Park in the near future.

Joe Gobillot (Houston, Texas/Vanderbilt) was snapped up early in the day as the Tampa Bay Rays took him in the 16th round. The Moose are still awaiting his decision on whether or not he will turn pro.

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