Encompassing 1,238 picks, 40 rounds and three days, the MLB First-Year Player Draft is the longest draft in American professional sports. For every Cal baseball player drafted except Tony Renda, the wait for their names to be called was a long one.
Renda was one of seven Cal players drafted this week, taken 80th overall in the second round on Tuesday by the Washington Nationals, the first second baseman chosen by any team. The junior second baseman, who was recently named a third-team All-American, has hit .348 over his three years at Cal.
Renda is a good fit for a Washington organization with a young core, a starting second baseman hitting just above the Mendoza line, and a club that hasn’t produced an All-Star second baseman (Jose Vidro in 2003) since the team played in Montreal.
Catcher Chadd Krist was the only other Bear taken on Tuesday, chosen by the Chicago Cubs with the 284th overall pick in the ninth round. Krist, who’s hit more doubles than any other Bear in his time at Cal with 65, moved up from being picked by Chicago’s other team in the 13th round in last year’s draft.
The five other Cal players drafted were subject to long, harrowing waits.
Though seven Bears were also chosen in last year’s draft — perhaps aided by the exposure of Cal’s run to the College World Series — six of those came in the first 19 rounds. In contrast, five of the Bears picked this year were chosen in the 20th round or later — all on the final day of the draft.
Mitch Delfino was the first Cal player taken on Wednesday, chosen by the San Francisco Giants in the 20th round. The junior infielder led Cal with a .355 average this year, enough to earn honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors.
A pair of Cal starting pitchers were taken within two rounds of each other. Justin Jones and Matt Flemer were taken in the 26th and 27th rounds by the Minnesota Twins and the Colorado Rockies, respectively. While Jones has the option of staying at Cal after a disappointing junior campaign, Flemer surprisingly slipped eight rounds from last year’s draft despite a solid senior campaign in the rotation.
Senior outfielder Danny Oh didn’t start for much of the first half of the season, but finished strong with a .344 average, including a 5-for-5 afternoon against Washington on May 14. Oh was chosen by the New York Yankees in the 27th round.
Senior Joey Donofrio joins a St. Louis Cardinals organization that has historically been successful turning unheralded pitchers into solid Major Leaguers. Taken in the 31st round, Donofrio finished the 2012 campaign 6-1 with a 1.88 ERA and an impressive 10.1 strikeouts per nine innings.
Cal players taken in 2012 MLB Draft
Tony Renda, second baseman — Washington Nationals, Round 2 (80th overall)
Chadd Krist, catcher — Chicago Cubs, Round 9 (284th overall)
Mitch Delfino, infielder — San Francisco Giants, Round 20 (628th overall)
Justin Jones, pitcher — Minnesota Twins, Round 26 (790th overall)
Matt Flemer, pitcher — Colorado Rockies, Round 27 (828th overall)
Danny Oh, outfielder — New York Yankees, Round 27 (847th overall)
Joey Donofrio, pitcher — St. Louis Cardinals, Round 31 (960th overall)