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Thirteen Ivies Selected in 2017 MLB Draft

Thirteen Ivies Selected in 2017 MLB Draft

PRINCETON, N.J. -- Thirteen Ivies representing five institutions—Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Penn and Yale—heard their names called during the 2017 Major League Baseball (MLB) First-Year Player Draft. The tally, compiled over the three-day affair from June 12-14, is the most since 2012, when 13 Ivies were also selected.

Over the past decade, the Ivy League has produced 80 MLB draft picks, including seven-straight years with at least five selections. Penn's four draftees are the most from a single Ivy League program since five Princeton student-athletes heard their names called in 2004.  

For the second-straight year, Dartmouth produced the Ivy League's first draftee. Senior right-handed pitcher Beau Sulser was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates with the 298th overall pick in the 10th round. Teammate and fellow senior right-handed pitcher Duncan Robinson was taken by the Chicago Cubs with the 284th overall pick in the ninth round to kick off the 2016 Ivy draft class.

Sulser, the 2017 Ivy League Pitcher of the Year and a unanimous First Team All-Ivy selection, compiled a 6-1 record with a 1.40 ERA, which ranks third among Division I pitchers. In 45.0 innings of work, he struck out 52 batters and walked just five, while holding the opposition to a .201 batting average. The Santa Ysabel, Calif., native also ranks among the nation's leaders in WHIP (0.80, 2nd), strikeout-to-walk ratio (10.40, 3rd) and walks issued per nine innings (1.00, 7th).

As the lone day-two pick from the Ivy League, Sulser headlined a run of five-straight right-handed pitchers to open the 2017 Ivy draft class.

Penn junior right-handed pitcher Billy Lescher led off the day-three draftees and was the first of a program-record four Quakers to hear his named called. The Alexandria, Va., product was drafted by the Detroit Tigers with the 515th overall pick in the 17th round. He was the most prominent reliever in the Penn bullpen this season, leading the team with 16 appearances and four saves while posting a 2-2 record with a 3.38 ERA.  

Dartmouth senior right-handed pitcher Michael Danielak was tapped by the Oakland Athletics with the 561st overall pick in the 19th round. The Mount Prospect, Ill., native was a Second Team All-Ivy honoree after tallying a 7-2 record with a 2.64 ERA. He surrendered 57 hits in 58.0 innings while striking out 55 batters and walking just 10. Danielak won his first five games of the season, including victories over nationally ranked Miami and UCF. He was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates with the 855th overall pick in the 28th round as a junior in 2016, but returned to Hanover to complete his eligibility and improve his draft stock.

Penn senior right-handed pitcher Jake Cousins was the fourth Ivy off the board after being called by the Washington Nationals with the 613th overall pick in the 20th round. The unanimous First Team All-Ivy honoree went 7-2 with a 3.15 ERA as the Quaker ace this season, reaching the 20 career win plateau to rank third on Penn's all-time list. The St. Charles, Ill., product is the cousin of current Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins, who congratulated Jake on his selection on Twitter.

Cornell senior right-handed pitcher Paul Balestrieri was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals with the 784th overall pick in the 26th round. The West Windor, N.J., native went 5-4 with a 2.18 ERA in nine starts this season, en route to Second Team All-Ivy accolades. He spent two years as a reliever for the Big Red, tallying six saves in 21 appearances, before anchoring the starting rotation in 2016 and 2017.

Penn senior left-handed pitcher Adam Bleday ended the string of right-handed pitchers when he was chosen by the Houston Astros with the 811th overall pick in the 27th round. The Panama City Beach, Fla., product used a dominant four-pitch mix to post a league-high 74 strikeouts this year, a mark that ranks sixth on Penn's all-time single-season strikeout list. He picked up a nine-out save in the Ivy League Lou Gehrig Division playoff to clinch the program's first division crown since 2007.

A Second Team All-Ivy performer, Yale senior third baseman Richard Slenker was the first Ivy League position player off the board when the Houston Astros selected him with the 841st overall pick. The Pound Ridge, N.Y., native started a run of three Ivies over a 10-pick stretch in the 28th round. In 50 games, Slenker hit .342 with four home runs, 40 RBI and 41 runs scored. As a senior captain, he led Yale to a program-record 34 wins, its first Ivy League title since 1994 and its first multi-win NCAA Tournament since 1948.

First Team All-Ivy honoree and Cornell senior right-handed pitcher Peter Lannoo was taken by the San Francisco Giants five picks later at 846th overall. The Big Red closer paced the Ivy League and ranked second in Cornell annals with eight saves as a senior. A Terre Haute, Ind., product, Lannoo compiled a 3.86 ERA with 16 strikeouts in 21.0 innings.

Just four picks later, another Big Red pitcher—junior lefty Justin Lewis—heard his name called by the Los Angeles Dodgers with the 850th overall pick. The lone left-handed pitcher in Cornell's rotation averaged nearly a strikeout per inning with 45 Ks in 45.2 innings pitched. The La Canada, Calif., native compiled a 3-2 record with a 5.32 ERA during his third campaign in the Big Red rotation.

Second Team All-Ivy selection and Yale senior outfielder Harrison White gave the Bulldogs multiple draftees for the first time since 2012 when he was tapped by the Miami Marlins with the 929th overall pick in the 31st round. The Laguna Niguel, Calif., product hit .285 and slugged .380 with 21 RBI and 23 runs scored in 48 games. He did most of his damage down the stretch, hitting .377 and slugging .508 with a .479 on-base percentage in League play.

Draft-eligible sophomore Jake Nelson, a right-handed pitcher for Penn, was selected by the Detroit Tigers with the 995th overall pick in the 33rd round. The Hopkinton, N.H., native posted a 2.25 ERA in 10 relief appearances, while compiling a team-best .193 batting average against. He registered three saves and tallied 13 strikeouts in 16.0 innings pitched in his second year in the Quaker bullpen.

The Milwaukee Brewers selected a pair of Brown Bears to round out the 2017 Ivy League draft class. Senior right-handed pitcher Christian Taugner was taken with the 1,104th overall pick in the 37th round, while senior outfielder Rob Henry was chosen with the 1,164th overall pick in the 39th round. The tandem gives Brown multiple MLB draft selections for the first time since 2005.

Taugner posted a 2.70 ERA with 35 strikeouts over 60.0 innings as a senior. The Roselle, Ill., product headlined the Bears rotation for four seasons and earned Second Team All-Ivy honors as a senior.

Henry was a unanimous First Team All-Ivy selection this year, after hitting .317 with 13 RBI and a team-high 31 runs scored. In League play, he hit .390, slugged .636 and compiled a .455 on-base percentage. A four-year starter in center field, the Cranston, R.I., native paced the Bears with five triples and nine stolen bases, while putting together a 31-game reached-base streak as a senior.