Three Spartans, two signees drafted in MLB first-year player draft
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL -- UNC Greensboro's Guy Welsh, Ryan Falcon and Lee Land were selected Friday afternoon in the 18th round of the 2007 MLB First-Year Player Draft. Welsh was picked by the Seattle Mariners, while Falcon went to Texas and Land was selected by Oakland.
In addition, two UNCG signees were drafted. Outfielder Christopher Berroa was drafted by the Washington Nationals in the 25th round, while catcher Shawn Zarraga was picked by the Brewers in the 44th round.
Berroa was ranked as one of the Top 10 “Speed” Players in the nation this year by Perfect Game Crosschecker earlier this year, running the 60-yard dash in 6.54 seconds. A 6-1, 180 lbs. centerfielder, Berroa was the first player in Pennsauken (NJ) HS history to record 100 hits in a career – doing so with a home run in a 5-2 win back on May 9. He hit .450 this season and stole 20 bases for the Indians.
Zarraga was named the Small School Player of the Year for the second straight year by the Palm Beach (FL) Post. Zarraga, who speaks four languages including his native Aruba, hit .621 this season with five home runs, 47 RBI and 49 runs scored. He also helped out on the other side of the battery this season, working 16 innings as a pitcher with a 3-0 mark and a 0.43 ERA. He struck out 32 in those 16 innings. He fired a one-hitter in the regional finals against defending state champion Miami-Brito and followed that up with a four-hitter in Trinity Christian’s 2-1 win over Lake Mary Prep in the state semifinals
Welsh, who was selected with the 555th pick overall in this year’s draft, spent the last two seasons with the Spartans after transferring from Pima Community College. At UNCG, Welsh appeared in 116 of the Spartans’ 119 games with all of them being as a starter. He hit .325 over the two seasons with 150 hits and 89 RBI in that span. This past season, Welsh hit .345, which was third-best on the squad, with five home runs and a team-best 49 RBI, which also ranked 10th in school history. He also led the team in doubles with 20, which was tied for fifth on the UNCG single-season list. His 79 hits this season were also the sixth-highest single-season total at UNCG.
Last season, the Tucson, AZ native was second in the team in batting, hitting at a .305 clip, and RBI with 40. Welsh is the first Spartan to be selected by Seattle.
Land sat out this season due to NCAA Transfer regulations after coming to UNCG from Arkansas. If he does not sign, he will return to UNCG with one season of eligibility remaining. Land began his career in 2004 at Wake Forest and traferred to Arkansas following a medical redshirt. He pitched for the Razorbacks for two seasons before leaving for Greensboro in May 2006. Land, a native of Rougemont, NC, was originally drafted out of high school in the 13th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Falcon made 72 appearances, including 55 starts, during his career at UNCG. He logged a 17-18 mark with a 3.65 ERA. In 323 career innings, Falcon struck out 285 and walked 74. This past season, he earned All-SoCon honors when he went 8-7 with a 2.93 ERA. In 104-1/3 innings of work, the Rougemont, NC native struck out 84 and walked 16. He finished his UNCG career fifth in ERA, third in games started and third in strikeouts. His 84 strikeouts this past season ranked 10th on the school's single-season list, which the 104-1/3 innings on the mound were the fourth-highest total in school history.
It is the first time since 1994 that three Spartans were selected in the same season. A total of 17 Spartans have been selected in the Major League Baseball draft process since the University added the sport in 1991. It also marks the fifth-straight year that a Spartan has been selected in the draft.
UNCG PLAYERS SELECTED IN MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL FIRST-YEAR PLAYER
2007: Guy Welsh (3B, 18th, Seattle), Lee Land (P, 28th, Oakland), Ryan Falcon (P, 29th, Texas)
2006: Jermaine Mitchell (OF, 5th, Oakland), Patrick Currin (P, 22nd, Oakland)
2005: Chris Mason (P, 2nd, Tampa Bay)
2004: Jason Metger (P, 23rd, Colorado), Jarrett Santos (P, 34th, Florida)
2003: Ryan Gordon (P, 43rd, Toronto)
2001: Taft Cable (P, 8th, Philadelphia)
2000: Jason Marsh (C, 22nd, Tampa Bay)
1997: Lance Surridge (P, 18th, Baltimore)
1996: Tim Giles (1B, 20th, Toronto)
1994: Tonka Maynor (OF/1B, 27th, Pittsburgh), Joey DeAngelis (1B, 33rd, Colorado), Dan Schneider (C, 36th, San Francisco)
1993: Brian Moehler (P, 6t h, Detroit), Tonka Maynor (OF/1B, 47th, Pittsburgh – did not sign)