Luplow, Velazquez Selected in MLB Draft

June 6, 2014

By: Matt Burkholder

Pulpit rock

Pulpit rock

FRESNO, Calif. - Fresno State juniors Jordan Luplow and Derick Velazquez were the first two Bulldogs to hear their names called in the 2014 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by respective clubs on Friday during the second day of this year's MLB draft. It is the fourth consecutive year that the Bulldogs have had at least two players drafted in the first 10 rounds of the annual draft.

The first Bulldog to be selected in the draft was Luplow, he went to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 3rd round as the No. 100 overall selection, while Velazquez' name was called in the 7th round when the Houston Astros drafted him with the No. 196 overall pick.

"This is an exciting time for my family and I," said Luplow. "I'm ecstatic right now. It's been a roller-coaster ride for us all. I had butterflies going into the draft, but now it's a bit relieving to know where I've been selected."

Luplow joins a group of exceptional former Bulldogs who have also been selected by the Pirates in recent draft history such as Tanner Scheppers (2008, Rd. 2) Justin Wilson (2008, Rd. 5) and Josh Poytress (2011, Rd. 18).

Luplow was named the 2014 Mountain West Player of the Year during a stellar junior campaign that also brought him All-American honors as well being named a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes and most recently a finalist for the Gregg Olson Award.

The Clovis, Calif. native led the MW with a .377 batting average in 57 games and owned a .470 batting average in 30 conference games, setting a league record for juniors. With a few games remaining to be played as teams march onward to the College World Series, Luplow's numbers continue to rank inside the NCAA Top 50 in seven individual categories as of June 6 - .377 batting average (31st), 21 doubles (16th), 0.37 doubles per game (33rd), 81 hits (49th), .475 on-base percentage (25th), .609 slugging percentage (21st) and 131 total bases (28th).

Luplow started in all 157 games he played for Fresno State, making 149 of those starts in right field. He started all 59 games as a true freshman in 2012, as a sophomore Luplow started in all 41 games he played, a season he was sidelined for 15 games with an injury.

The junior outfielder collected 188 career hits in 599 at bats for a .314 career average. His 45 career doubles ranks as the eighth most in Fresno State history.

The experience of watching the draft did not end for Luplow after he heard his name called on Friday as the draft is a day just as exciting to see where friends land too.

"I've been watching it all day," said Luplow. "I'm excited for my teammates and then the guys I played with in summer ball. It's a fun experience watching these guys get drafted knowing, 'I know that guy,' it's pretty cool."

Teammate, Velazquez, a right-handed pitcher from Los Banos, Calif., was next off the draft board for the Bulldogs later in the day after Luplow.

Used primarily in a relief role in 2014, Velazquez appeared in 28 games, although he did get the nod to start in four games his junior season. He pitched 56.1 innings for a 4.79 ERA on the year. As a sophomore, the right-hander led the Bulldogs in starts and innings pitched during his first season at Fresno State, making 11 starts while appearing in 17 games. He worked 75.2 innings on the mound in 2013 after transferring from Merced College.

"Every pick you watch, it feels like it's taking forever," said Velazquez. "But it feels great once you're drafted. There's still a lot I need to work on, but I feel I have the mental ability that'll help me a lot at the next level."

The draft concludes on Saturday with the remaining rounds of 11-40, beginning at 10 a.m. PT as several Bulldogs will be waiting to hear their names called next.


Three Fresno State commits have been selected in this year's draft and will now have to choose whether or not to adhere to their National Letter of Intent or forgo it to seek professional careers.

● Luis Ortiz - RHP - Sanger, Calif. (Sanger HS)
- 1st Round (30th overall), Texas Rangers
● Stetson Woods - RHP - Madera, Calif. (Liberty HS)
- 7th Round (223rd overal), Atlanta Braves
● Luke Dykstra - INF - Thousand Oaks, Calif. (Westlake HS
- 9th Round (268th overall), San Francisco Giants

"Catch the Wave" - The official home of the Fresno State Bulldogs is 940 AM ESPN Radio.



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