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Northwestern and the MLB Draft: Two NU players aspire for Major League glory

Did somebody say baseball school????

Boston Red Sox v New York Yankees Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The ever-so-exciting and anticipated MLB Draft is FINALLY upon us, meaning there’s no better time for Inside NU to provide a rundown of how Northwestern prospects are set to fare in this week’s draft. While we’re at it, we’ll also give you a brief history of how former Wildcats have fared in the draft/league up to this point (it’s not good besides J.A Happ).

2019 Northwestern Draft Prospects

Nick Paciorek

The hard-throwing righty burst onto the scene in 2019 in his first full season as a pitcher for Northwestern this season and was perhaps the story of the season for this Wildcat team. Paciorek was Northwestern’s strongest bullpen arm in 2019 with a fastball that consistently hovered in the low-to-mid 90s that made him a strikeout-minded pitcher. Paciorek stuck out 44 batters in just 26.2 innings pitched on the year and finished with a team best 3.38 ERA.

Although he still has his senior season ahead of him at Northwestern, Paciorek appears to have set himself up to be a late-round pick as Baseball America rated him the No. 229 overall prospect heading into the 2019 draft. If Paciorek’s name does get called in the next few days, the reliever would have to choose between signing an MLB deal or returning for one final stint in Evanston.

Jack Dunn

Despite a remarkable career in Evanston in which Dunn started all 211 games at shortstop over his four years, Dunn hasn’t quite seem to have generated the same level of draft buzz that Paciorek has. Dunn ended his NU career at ninth overall in all-time hits for the program at 230. He also earned first-team Big Ten honors in his final season and finished with a .340 batting average on the year.

However, a lack of power at the plate could prove to be what keeps Dunn on the outside looking in during the coming days. Still, Dunn was named as Baseball America’s 20th best Big Ten prospect heading into 2019 and a strong senior campaign should keep his name in the conversation as a potential late-round pick.

Alright, so there’s really only two prospects here, but the good news is that one is actually probably going to be drafted! Northwestern technically hasn’t had a player drafted since 2015 (current Wildcat Leo Kaplan was drafted in 2016 straight out of high school). Dynasties have to start somewhere!!

Northwestern in the MLB - the 2010 decade

Based off a comprehensive dive into, New York Yankees pitcher J.A Happ appears to be the only active Northwestern grad on a current MLB roster. Happ was a third-round pick in the 2004 MLB draft. The Wildcats have never had a player drafted higher than the third-round in the draft.

Besides Happ, the only former ‘Cats to have multi-year stints on major League rosters this decade are pitchers Luke Farrell (2017-2018), Bo Schultz (2014-2016) and George Kontos (2011-2018).

Furthermore, Northwestern hasn’t had a true position player drafted since Chris Lashmet was taken in the 33rd round of the 2011 draft. Jack Dunn could break that drought for Northwestern if he’s lucky enough to have his name called in the next few days.