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  • Sean Hjelle selected #45 by SF Giants

    UK Media Relations

    LEXINGTON, Ky. – Sean Hjelle was the first Kentucky player selected in the 2018 Major League Baseball Draft when the San Francisco Giants picked him with the second pick of the second round on Monday. The Wildcats’ ace was selected with the 45th overall pick.

    The 6-foot-11 junior from White Bear Lake, Minnesota developed into one of the nation’s most accomplished and unique pitchers, earning 2017 Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Year and numerous All-America honors during his career. He was Kentucky’s Friday starter in his final two seasons, routinely drawing the matchup with opponents’ staff ace in those games.

    In fifteen appearances – including 14 starts - Hjelle went 7-5 with a 3.44 earned run average in 2018, striking out 91 and walking just 22 hitters in 99.1 innings. Opponents hit just .232 against him this season and .242 for his career.

    For his career, Hjelle is all over the Kentucky record books. He is 22-10 overall in three seasons, ranking him fifth on the school’s career wins list. He ranks seventh in career win-loss percentage (.688), ninth in career strikeouts (222), fourth in single-season wins (11 in 2017) and fifth in single-season saves (8 in 2016). He has 54 career appearances, including 31 starts.

    As a sophomore, Hjelle was voted SEC Pitcher of the Year by the league’s coaches after a dominating run through the gauntlet of conference play that saw him go 7-1 with a 1.90 ERA in 10 starts. Opponents hit just .186 off him as he gave up 43 hits in 66.1 innings. He also earned the win in the Cats’ NCAA Tournament opener and returned three days later to pitch 3.1 hitless innings in a winner-take-all game to get the win and send the program to its first-ever Super Regional appearance.

    Hjelle excelled off the field too, serving as UK’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council president the past year and earning Mr. Wildcat honors, the highest award giving to a male student-athlete at Kentucky.

    Hjelle will join a Giants organization that has won three World Series championships in the past eight seasons – 2010, 2012 and 2014 – and has a reputation for developing pitchers it selects in the early rounds of the draft, including Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum.


    • 2018 Preseason First-Team All-America (Collegiate Baseball)

    • 2018 Preseason Third-Team All-America (Perfect Game)

    • SEC Pitcher of the Year (2017)

    • Collegiate Baseball Second-Team All-America (2017)

    • ABCA South All-Region Second-Team (2017)

    • First-Team All-SEC (2017)

    • SEC Pitcher of the Week (3/20/17)

    • Perfect Game/Rawlings National Pitcher of the Week (3/20/17)

    • UK Student Athletic Council President (2017-18)
    Comments 24 Comments
    1. Darrell KSR's Avatar
      Darrell KSR -
      Luke Heyer is selected with the final pick in the 8th round, # 255 overall, by the Dodgers.
    1. Darrell KSR's Avatar
      Darrell KSR -
      Another Kentucky senior selected, Luke Becker, 9th round, # 261 overall pick by the Padres.

      I think 6th through 10th rounds are popular rounds to pick seniors. Unless the rules have changed, they usually get away with paying them like 15-20% of slot value, and save the extra slot money for the high schoolers they are attracting.
    1. Darrell KSR's Avatar
      Darrell KSR -
      First 10 rounds are in the books. Rounds 11-40 tomorrow
    1. Darrell KSR's Avatar
      Darrell KSR -
      Several Cats taken today; sorry, been busy today.

      7th Wildcat selected: RHP Justin Lewis, 12th round, pick # 369 to the Diamondbacks

      8th Wildcat selected: SS Trey Dawson, 15th round, pick # 462 to the Astros

      9th Wildcat selected: RHP Chris Machamer, 16th round, pick # 490 to the Red Sox

      10th Wildcat selected: C Troy Squires, 23rd round, pick # 686 to the Blue Jays