Three members of the San Jose State baseball team were selected on day two of the 2011 Major League Baseball First-Year Players Draft.
The first Spartan to be taken was left-handed starting pitcher Roberto Padilla. He was chosen in the eighth round by the Colorado Rockies with the 258th overall pick. He was followed by first baseman Danny Stienstra (12th round, 380th pick) and right-handed starting pitcher Esteban Guzman (17th round, 517th pick) who were taken in by the St. Louis Cardinals and Washington Nationals, respectively.
“Anytime an athlete is selected in the draft it shows a tremendous amount of respect for his talent and ability,” head coach Sam Piraro said. “I’m so happy for these three young men first-and-foremost, but it also says we as an organization and a university are doing things right.”
Padilla led San Jose State with a 3.19 ERA and a 9-6 record. In 98.2 innings he struck out 81 batters, both tops on the team. A junior, he was a first-team All-Western Athletic Conference selection and earned WAC Pitcher of the Week honors for his complete game, 5-3 victory over No. 2 UCLA back in February. Padilla is the 10th Spartan to be drafted in the top-10 rounds of the MLB Draft in the last 30 years.
“It’s hard to put into words how I feel right now,” said Padilla, who was following the draft at a family get together. “I guess relieved would be a good word. I was drafted last year, so I kind of knew the drill, but until your name is called it is nerve-wracking.
“I knew I would go in the first 10 rounds and had talked with the (Baltimore) Orioles earlier today, but being selected by the Rockies really came out of the blue. I had been in contact with them earlier this season, but didn’t think they were that interested.”
“I know Roberto is tremendously excited,” Piraro said. “He is a special young man with a lot of talent and he has a bright future in front of him.”
Stienstra, a senior, was the Spartans leading hitter with a .349 average and led the WAC with 84 hits. He was a first-team All-WAC selection and a CoSIDA/Capital One first-team Academic All-District 8 honoree. Among his accomplishments on the diamond this season, Stienstra led San Jose State in runs (42), RBI (54) and doubles (15) while starting all 61 games.
“I got a call on my cell phone while I was working out and it was a scout from the Cardinals telling me I had been drafted,” Stienstra said. “To be honest, I wasn’t even paying attention to the draft and was a bit surprised that I was taken in the 12th round.
“I am really glad that I have an opportunity to keep playing baseball. I am so grateful to the Cardinals organization for giving me a chance. I wasn’t sure what I would be doing next year, but now I know and I am real excited.”
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