Four Ducks, 10 recruits taken in MLB Draft

Jack Hunter

Oregon pitchers Justin LaTempa, Drew Gagnier and Zach Thornton, catcher Eddie Rodriguez and 10 Duck recruits were drafted in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft from June 7 through June 9.

LaTempa, a senior, was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels in the 12th round. LaTempa went 6-3 in 15 starts in 2010, recording 68 strikeouts and a 3.65 ERA. LaTempa was also drafted in the 22nd round in 2008 by the Arizona Diamondbacks, but did not sign.

Redshirt junior reliever Gagnier was selected in the 17th round by the Detroit Tigers, who also have Gagnier’s brother Lauren in their minor league system. Gagnier had an 0-2 record in 2010, with 25 strikeouts in 23 appearances. Gagnier was drafted in 2009 in the 14th round by the Oakland Athletics.

The Athletics also drafted All-Pac-10 honorable mention senior Thornton in the 23rd round. Thornton had a perfect 9-0 record in 2010, including four series-clinching wins, with 73 strikeouts in 90 innings. Thornton was also selected in 2008 by the San Francisco Giants in the 43rd round.

Rodriguez, Oregon’s cleanup hitter for much of 2010, was drafted in the 32nd round by the Florida Marlins. Rodriguez led the Ducks with 7 home runs and 45 RBI last season and was named All-Pac-10 honorable mention.

Ten Oregon recruits were drafted as well, including 27th overall selection Jesse Biddle, a left-handed pitcher who has signed with the Philadelphia Phillies, and 34th overall pick Aaron Sanchez, who has signed with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Three Oregon players were selected in the 2009 draft, as Gagnier, Erik Stavert and Bennett Whitmore were all picked. Seven recruits were drafted as well, including 11th overall pick Tyler Matzek, who signed with the Colorado Rockies for $3.9 million, and third-round selection Jake Marisnick, who got $1 million from the Blue Jays.

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