2022 MLB Draft Brings Five Local Players Step Closer To Big Leagues

Jul 19, 2022, 6:00 PM
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 17: Robert Manfred, commissioner of Major League Baseball, announces the first pick by Jackson Holiday by the Baltimore Orioles during the 2022 MLB Draft at XBOX Plaza on July 17, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.

SALT LAKE CITY – Five players with Utah ties were selected in the Major League Baseball draft held during All-Star festivities this week.

The 20-round MLB draft was held in Los Angeles, CA July 16-19.

An up and coming BYU baseball program saw four players drafted while a former prep player out of Desert Hill HS went in the second round. Let’s recap the fun.

Drew Thorpe – Round 2 (61st overall) NY Yankees

A 6’4 right-hander out of Cal-Poly via Desert Hills High School in St. George, UT. Thorpe spent two season’s as the Mustangs Friday night starter. In his redshirt sophomore season, Thorpe went 10-1 with a 2.32 earned run average. A strikeout pitcher with Cal-Poly, Thorpe struck out double-digit batters nine times in 2022 including 15 K’s against UC San Diego on March 25. He didn’t allow more than three earned runs in a game all season long.

Andrew Pintar – Rd 5 (138th overall) Arizona D-backs

A 6’2 middle-infielder out of Spanish Fork High School, Pintar spent three seasons with BYU. After winning Co-WCC Freshman of the Year & All-WCC First Team in 2021 as a second-year freshman (Covid), Pintar played only 17 games with the Cougars in 2022. He finished with a .208 batting average, five doubles and eight RBI. Pintar raked in 2021, hitting .333 with nine homers and 32 RBI. He has a .970 fielding percentage with 10 errors while primarily playing second base.

Cy Nielsen – Rd 8 (230th overall) Pittsburgh Pirates

High school teammate with Andrew Pintar at Spanish Fork, this is the second time Nielsen has been drafted after the Cleveland Guardians took him in the 40th round in 2019. A bullpen arm with the Cougars, Nielsen had a 3.21 earned run average as a sophomore. Rebounding from a difficult 2021 where Nielsen struggled with control while giving up 29 walks (22 more than he had in 2021) and a 7.73 earned run average. Nielsen had a 45:7 strikeout/walk ratio in 2022.

Nate Dahle -Rd 13 (441st overall) Tampa Bay Rays

Playing his prep ball at Bear River High School, Dahle is a 6’6 right-handed reliever that played one season with the Cougars. Dahle threw 42 2/3 innings in 25 appearances with 61 strikeouts against 11 walks. He had a 2.74 ERA, allowed a .247 batting average against and picked up two saves for the Cougars.

Cooper McKeehan – Rd 16 (475th overall) KC Royals

McKeehan is a 6’1 lefty reliever out of Matthews, NC. In three seasons with BYU, he threw 55.2 innings while allowing a minuscule .167 batting average against. As a third-year sophomore (Covid), he allowed only 13 base hits in 23 innings pitched while striking out 41 batters and walking 14.

What’s Next?

While in other sports it is basically a foregone conclusion for athletes to pursue the pros after being drafted, baseball is different. All five players drafted have college eligibility remaining and could choose to return to school in order to improve draft position for next year. Players and teams have until August 1 to reach a deal before being placed back in the draft pool for 2023.

  • BYU Cougars Scoreboard

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  • BYU Cougars Standings

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