Baseball: Miami Marlins draft Matt Milroy in 11th round
By Paul Johnson For Sun-Times Media June 6, 2012 6:16PM
Former Marmion standout Matt Milroy, shown here pitching in a 2009 game, was drafted by the Miami Marlins in the 11th round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft. | Donnell Collins~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 23, 2012 9:52AM
Since the beginning of his junior season pitching for the University of Illinois this spring, Marmion graduate Matt Milroy knew the Miami Marlins were following closely.
Miami showed just how serious it was about drafting Milroy Tuesday.
The Marlins snagged Milroy in the 11th round of the first-year player draft, the 347th overall selection. Milroy said he is prepared to forgo his final season of eligibility in Champaign to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming a professional baseball player. He will be meeting with the Marlins at the end of the week in hopes of coming to an agreement.
“It was a lot of excitement and relief that it happened,” Milroy said. “I’m happy to hopefully move on with my baseball career. I went to a pre-draft workout in Miami, and they were the top team that wanted to get me. It’s something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time, going back to high school when I saw it was a realization. Hopefully I’ll end up in the big leagues someday.”
Milroy was drafted in the 35th round by Boston in 2009, but he opted to go to Illinois instead. Milroy’s numbers at Illinois the past three years weren’t eye-popping. He went 5-10 with a 5.72 ERA in 43 appearances, including 11 starts. But he struck out 105 batters — to go with 84 walks — in 111‰ innings, showing his low-90s fastball and good slider along the way.
“His physical talents have always been through the roof,” Marmion coach Dave Rakow said. “He can stand flat-footed under the basket and dunk a basketball. He led the area in hitting (at Marmion). He throws in the 90s. His big problem was throwing strikes.
“It looked like the second half this year, he started putting it together. They must have seen how physically talented he was and that was what they were going for. I told him that I was proud of him and really happy for him.”
Milroy becomes the highest drafted player in Marmion history. Matt German signed as an undrafted free agent with Philadelphia after his time at Northern Illinois, playing in four minor league seasons before hanging it up after the 2010 season. T.F. Meagher, a 1999 Marmion graduate, played at Illinois but never got a chance to play professional ball.
Former coach Jim Reiland, who coached Marmion the 28 years prior to Rakow taking over the Cadets five years ago, said there were a couple of players in the 1950s from Marmion who had brief minor league careers, but that was before the draft system was put into place.
“It’s definitely a great honor to be coming out of Marmion and hopefully giving them a piece of history,” Milroy said. “My family has always been good at athletics at Marmion. It’s definitely a great honor.”
Milroy said he was overwhelmed with calls and text messages when word came out that he was drafted Tuesday night, so much so that he had to shut the phone off for a while.
“It was just great to know that people are happy to hear about me being successful with something I’ve been putting time into since I was a little kid,” Milroy said.
As for his next move, Milroy has no idea. He is going to meet with the scouts from Miami late this week and is eager to sign. From there, he could be assigned to extended spring training at the Marlins’ complex in Jupiter, Fla., or sent to an affiliate ranging from rookie league in Jupiter to Class A affiliates in Jamestown, N.Y. or Greensboro, N.C. It’s all up in the air.
“It’s excitement, that’s pretty much the only word I can use to describe it,” Milroy said.