Like most college sports with professional leagues, improvement on the field of play can result in losing players ahead of schedule.
The MSU baseball team has had back-to-back stellar seasons, and the effects of that are taking place. While better recruiting classes are coming in, top contributors could leave early. But that's what success brings.
Three Spartans were drafted on the second day of the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft on Tuesday, with two of them having a year of eligibility remaining. The three players selected were:
Round 8 - No. 252 - Torsten Boss (Jr., OF/3B) - Baltimore Orioles
Round 13 - No. 418 - Ryan Jones (Jr., 2B) - San Francisco Giants
Round 14 - No. 441 - Tony Bucciferro (Sr., RHP) - Chicago White Sox
It is the ninth straight season that a Spartan has been selected in the draft. Teams have until 5 p.m. on July 13 to sign players, or lose their rights.
More details after the jump
Boss' selection made him the highest-drafted Spartan since Bob Malek was taken in the fourth round in 2002. (For fun, here's every Spartan taken in MLB Draft history). He hit .302 with five home runs and became the first Spartan third baseman to earn All-Big Ten honors three times. His draft slot was the highest for an MSU third baseman since Steve Garvey was taken in the first round in 1968. The Orioles told Boss he may play infield or outfield, as he played both positions at MSU. He told MSU he hadn't made a decision yet on whether to go pro or not.
"It was amazing," said Boss on what it felt like to see his name called. "I had my parents, family and friends around me. We were just waiting all day, and when that call came, it was more of a relief. It was really exciting. … I haven't really decided yet, but my dream has always been to play pro ball."
Jones became the highest-drafted MSU second baseman ever. This past season, he hit .352 with three home runs and became the only MSU second baseman to earn All-Big Ten honors three times. He owns a career average of .358 with an .431 on-base percentage. Jones called his selection "a dream come true," and told MSU he will have to see what the offer is and talk with his family before making a decision.
"I'll find out what the offer is and talk it over with my family and advisor. That's when I'll find out (if I'm going). If I do start playing pro ball, I would like to get an early start. If something doesn't work out and I go back to college, then I'll stay with that.
Bucciferro became the highest-drafted MSU pitcher since Josh Axelson in the fifth round in 2000. Having graduated, he won't have any tough decision to make. Buccifferro went 6-4 with a 3.04 ERA this past season and finished as MSU's all-time leader in innings pitched (372.1) and starts (55), along with finishing second in strikeouts (273) and tied for third in wins (26). He was First-Team All-Big Ten last year and Third-Team this past season. Bucciferro talked with MSU about his roller-coaster day.
"It all happened so fast," Bucciferro said on the final frantic round of the second day of the draft, in which names appear rapidly on the official MLB Draft tracker. "I heard from a team that said they were going to take me near the 10th round, but then it didn't happen. Then I got really nervous. I was sitting around with my family, and we were down because we thought we were going with this certain pick, and all of a sudden, I get this call from the White Sox. I went to my computer and the White Sox were like, four picks away. Right when the team before the White Sox was drafting, we were waiting for the White Sox because it was going so fast, and I get a phone call. I pick up my phone, and then my dad yelled. It was just crazy."
Here are some more MSU draft stats, courtesy of the MSU Twitter feed.
For just the 4th time in school history, MSU had 3 players selected in the 1st 15 rounds of the MLB First-Year Player (June Amateur) Draft.— Michigan St Baseball (@statebaseball) June 6, 2012
MSU had a school-record 4 players selected in the 1st 15 rds. in 1972; also had 3 selected in 1st 15 rds. in 1969 and 1987.— Michigan St Baseball (@statebaseball) June 6, 2012
Rounds 16-40 will take place on Wednesday, when some other MSU players and commits could hear their names called. Last year, MSU had four committed players drafted, but they all ended up in East Lansing.