Four Sooners Called in 2017 MLB Draft

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Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
JUNE 14, 2017

NORMAN – Three University of Oklahoma baseball players were selected on day three of the 2017 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft to run the Sooner total to four in the 40-round draft. Right-handed pitcher JB Olson (Shady Shores, Texas) was the first off the board from OU in the 10th round during day two on Tuesday. Right-hander Devon Perez (Ashburn, Va.) followed as the Sooners' first day three selection in the 21st round.

Olson was drafted by the Chicago White Sox with the 297th overall selection. He pitched in 60 games during his two seasons in Norman. Olson appeared in a team-high 31 games out of the bullpen in 2017 with a 5-1 record and eight saves. Olson, an All-Big 12 Second Team selection, owned a 1.99 earned run average and struck out 46 in 45.1 innings in his final season.

The Sooners have had at least one player drafted every year since 1970 and a player selected in the first 10 rounds every year since 2011. Olson is the 84th draft pick in OU history to be chosen within the first 10 rounds and the 13th to be selected by the White Sox. Most recently, pitchers Alec Hansen (2nd round) and Jake Elliott (15th) were drafted by the White Sox in 2016.

Perez was the first of three Sooners to have their name called on Wednesday as right-hander Vincenzo Aiello (Staten Island, N.Y.) and catcher Renae Martinez (San Pedro, Calif.) rounded out Oklahoma's draft class. Perez was chosen by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the 21st round with the 625th overall pick. Aiello went to the Miami Marlins in the 28th at 839 and Martinez went to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 33rd at 982.

A starter in the OU rotation for eight weeks, Perez totaled 14 pitching appearance and a 6-2 record with a 3.50 ERA. The junior college transfer from Iowa Western Community College picked up a win in the NCAA Regional against Xavier (6/2) in his final outing of the season. He allowed two early runs, but hung in for seven innings with seven strikeouts to just one walk in an eventual 7-2 win to put the Sooners into the winner's bracket. Perez, who is eligible to return for his senior season, is just the fourth OU player to ever be drafted by the Angels; joining a list that includes MLB alums Reggie Willits and Garrett Richards.

Aiello, a graduate transfer, pitched the first four seasons of his career at Rider University in New Jersey before completing his collegiate career at OU this season. He appeared in 24 games out of the bullpen with a 5.47 ERA and struck out 39 batters in 24.2 innings of work. Aiello becomes the ninth Sooner drafted by the Marlins and first since Danny Black and current Oakland A's pitcher Zach Neal were selected by the Florida Marlins in 2010.

Martinez came to Oklahoma by way of El Camino College-Compton after a season at UC Irvine that ended in a trip to Omaha in 2014. A senior tri-captain along with Olson and Austin O'Brien, he his third much of the season and was voted All-Big 12 Second Team as well as a Johnny Bench Award semifinalist. Martinez Hit .323 and slugged .510 with 15 doubles and seven home runs with 37 RBI. He is the fifth Sooner to be drafted by the Diamondbacks and the first since Chris Ellison in 2011. Current Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Chase Anderson debut for Arizona in 2014 after being drafted by the Dbacks in 2009.

A total of 263 players have been drafted into Major League Baseball out of Oklahoma since 1967 and at least one player has been drafted every year since 1970.

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