Penn State left handed pitcher Joe Kurrasch was selected by the San Francisco Giants in the eighth round of the 2012 Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft on Tuesday, becoming the first Nittany Lion selected this year. The redshirt junior was taken with the 268th overall pick in the draft.
The transfer from California started the 2012 season out as the team’s closer before transitioning to become one of the Lions’ top starters.
In both roles, Kurrasch dazzled hitters, compiling a 2.05 ERA with 78 strikeouts in 87.2 innings while holding opposing hitters to a .223 batting average. After a successful start to the year as a closer, he had the opportunity to face hitters all game long as a starter later in the season, too.
He thrived in the latter role, most notably against the Purdue Boilermakers on March 31. Kurrasch took a no-hitter into the seventh inning before it was finally broken up. Despite the lost no-no, he finished with a satisfying stat line of 7.1 innings pitched with three hits and five strikeouts.
As his successful starts piled up, the numbers of scouts' radar guns behind home plate at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park slowly began to grow. Big league teams were interested.
Now, that interest has turned in to an opportunity to start a professional baseball career. To Kurrach's delight, he was picked by his favorite team, the San Francisco Giants.
He now faces a dilemma of whether to return to Penn State for his junior year and elevate his draft stock for 2013 or to pursue his dreams of playing professional baseball for his favorite team.
Two more Penn State players have a realistic of being drafted in 2012, outfielder Sean Deegan and first baseman Jordan Steranka, who was drafted last season in the 30th round by the Houston Astros but opted to remain at Penn State. At the moment, they can only sit back and play the waiting game.
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