SPOKANE, Wash. - A pair of star Gonzaga pitchers heard their names called on day two of the 2017 MLB First Year Player Draft Tuesday. Senior reliever Wyatt Mills was selected in the third round and 83rd overall pick by the Seattle Mariners while junior starter Eli Morgan went in the eighth round and 252nd overall to the Cleveland Indians.
Mills worked his way into one of the best closers in the nation during his four years at Gonzaga. This season, the Spokane native posted a 1.79 ERA and minuscule 58/4 strikeout/walk ratio while saving 12 games for the Bulldogs, second-most in a single season in program history. He’s also second in school history with 21 career saves, two coming as a sophomore and seven last year when he first took over as closer. Mills allowed just eight earned runs in 2017, and he finished the season not having allowed a walk in 12 outings and 26.0 innings (since April 2), striking out 40 batters during the stretch. Last year, Mills was drafted in the 17th round by Tampa Bay but opted to return for Gonzaga for a chance to win another WCC title, a goal he helped the Zags achieve by pitching 3.2 scoreless innings and striking out five for the save against BYU May 20.
In addition to the first player from the West Coast Conference selected in the 2017 draft, Mills was the highest-selected Zag in the last four years, since Marco Gonzales was selected 19th overall in 2013. Only three GU baseball players in history have been picked earlier than Mills: Gonzales, Clayton Mortensen (36th overall in 2007) and Darin Blood (75th overall in 1995).
Morgan earned Second Team All-America honors from Collegiate Baseball after one of the best seasons by a Gonzaga starter in recent history. Morgan struck out 138 batters as a junior, second-most in program records and third-most in the country after the West Coast Conference Championships. He twice fanned 15 batters this year – one of only four pitchers in the nation with multiple 15-K games – and was four outs away from a perfect game March 17 against Pacific, retiring the first 23 batters he faced and allowing just one hit in nine scoreless innings. In all, Morgan went 10-2 and ranks among GU’s career top three in winning percentage (second; 21-5, .808) and strikeouts (third; 281). In addition to All-America honors, Morgan earned First Team All-WCC accolades and was on the Midseason watch list for the Golden Spikes Award. Over the course of the season, Morgan accumulated five Rawlings WCC Pitcher of the Week and three Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Week awards.
This is the second consecutive and third time in the last five years two Bulldogs went on day two of the draft. In 2016, Brandon Bailey was a sixth-round pick for Oakland while Joey Harris went in the ninth round to Washington.
The 2017 MLB First Year Player Draft will end Wednesday, June 14, with the final 30 rounds. Selections will begin at 9:00 a.m. Pacific.