Eight members of the Rice baseball team were selected by the professional ranks during this week’s Major League Baseball amateur draft. The eight selections are the most for the Rice program since 11 Owls were picked by pro teams in 2008.
On the second day of the three-day draft, junior pitcher/first baseman J.T. Chargois was picked in the second round by the Minnesota Twins and was the 72nd player overall to be selected. Junior pitcher Tyler Duffey was selected in the fifth round, 160th overall, also by Minnesota. Joining them in the draft were senior catcher Craig Manuel (Washington, 10th, 324), junior outfielder Jeremy Rathjen (Los Angeles Dodgers, 11th, 356), senior pitcher Matthew Reckling (Los Angeles Dodgers, 14th, 446) and junior pitcher Andrew Benak (New York Yankees, 14th, 457). On the final day of the draft, senior pitcher Taylor Wall was picked in the 22nd round by the Milwaukee Brewers, and redshirt junior pitcher/outfielder Chase McDowell was selected in the 30th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Led by head coach Wayne Graham, these players were members of the team that clinched another NCAA postseason bid in 2012 and extended Rice’s streak of 18 consecutive years of participating in the NCAA championships that began in 1995.
Rice announced this week that Graham, who just completed his 21st season at Rice and will be inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame later this month, has had an additional five years added to his current contract, which has one year remaining.