St. Cloud, MN – In the 2014 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft held from June 5 to June 7, a plethora of former and current players from the St. Cloud Rox organization were selected as 175 total Northwoods League players were chosen. In all, the Rox had 10 alumni and one current player selected, including two players in the first 10 rounds and five total in the first 20 rounds.
Infielder Nate Robertson was the only current St. Cloud player to be drafted, as he was taken 810th overall by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 27th round. The first player selected of Rox descent was catcher Adam Martin, who played in St. Cloud in 2012 and 2013 and was taken with the 291st overall pick by the Seattle Mariners in the 10th round. Martin hit .315 (84-for-267) for the Rox in 2013, while leading the team in numerous offensive categories including hits (84), doubles (18), home runs (10), RBIs (51) and slugging percentage (.502) as he also took home the 2013 Northwoods League Home Run Derby crown.
Just 20 picks after Martin, Alex McRae, who also played in St. Cloud in 2013, was taken with the 311th overall pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 10th round. McRae, a right-handed pitcher, appeared in 14 games for the Rox in 2013, going 39.2 innings while striking out 29 and posting a 2-2 record.
The next player selected was second baseman Nick Tanielu, taken by the Houston Astros with the first pick of the 14th round after playing with the Rox in 2012. Tanielu excelled in his one year in St. Cloud, batting .336 (48-for-143) with 15 doubles and 21 RBIs while playing in 40 games.
The selections in the first 20 rounds concluded with Zach Hirsch (2012), a left-handed pitcher taken by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 19th round and Clay Williamson (2013), an outfielder going to the Washington Nationals in the 19th round as well. As St. Cloud’s inaugural season Team MVP, Hirsch threw 63 innings for the Rox in 2012, going 5-2 and registering a team-low 3.71 ERA as he struck out 36. Williamson led all Rox hitters in 2013 with a .327 (50-for-153) batting average as he also totaled 10 doubles and 22 RBIs.
Right-handed pitcher Lucas Long was then selected in the 24th round, going 721st overall to the Baltimore Orioles. Long threw two seasons with the Rox in 2012 and 2013, registering the lowest ERA on the team in 2013 (1.47) as he threw 48.2 innings in seven starts while striking out 35 batters and allowing just eight earned runs. In 2012, he also made seven starts on the mound, hurling 40.1 innings and striking out 27 while recording a 3.79 ERA.
The 27th round saw two more Rox alums get taken, as 2013 teammates Conor Keniry and Jason Hoppe were taken two picks away from each other with the 814th and 816th selections respectively. Keniry played shortstop for the Rox a season ago and hit .250 (30-for-120) while playing 37 games in St. Cloud before being selected by the Nationals. Hoppe, taken by the Texas Rangers, threw in eight games for the Rox last season and started in six while registering a 5.34 ERA in 32 innings pitched while striking out 25 and walking 12.
The final two players selected with affiliation to the Rox were Kyle Fischer and Carlos Leal, who both played in 2013 as Fischer was drafted in the 30th round by the Miami Marlins, and Leal was taken in the 34th round by the Milwaukee Brewers to round out the draft. Fischer started the most games on the mound for the Rox in 2013, throwing 61.2 innings over 11 starts while recording a 3.79 ERA and going 4-2 in the process. Leal hit .225 (9-for-40) while catching for the Rox as he played in 13 games and tallied five doubles in 2013.