NORMAL — Prepared for the worst case scenario of not being selected in Major League Baseball’s first-year player draft, Illinois State senior Chad Hinshaw is now preparing for a minor league career.
Hinshaw was the first of four Redbirds chosen on the final day of the draft Saturday. The Normal Community High School graduate was pegged in the 15th round by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
ISU shortstop Brett Kay went to the San Francisco Giants in the 20th round, pitcher Chris Razo was picked in the 24th round by the Milwaukee Brewers and outfielder Eric Aguilera was the 34th round selection of the Angels.
“Having four guys drafted is a great testament to the program and where it is right now,” Redbird coach Mark Kingston said. “We’re very happy for those guys to get to move to the next level.”
A standout defender in center field, Hinshaw is ISU’s career leader with 108 stolen bases. He batted .298 with four home runs, 35 RBIs and 33 stolen bases as a senior.
“I came into this weekend thinking if things don’t work out I can’t be too disappointed. I gave everything,” Hinshaw said. “But things did work out. When the pick came, I was surprised because I haven’t talked to the Angels very much. I’m excited for the opportunity.”
Kay earned Missouri Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors with his work at shortstop for the Redbirds. Kay batted .301 with three homers, 35 RBIs and 10 stolen bases this spring.
“It’s an extremely surreal and humbling phone call and experience to hear your name called to play pro sports. I was going to be happy with any round,” said Kay. “I’ve been working for this my whole life. I can’t thank the San Francisco Giants enough for taking a chance on me. I definitely won’t let them down.”
Razo’s stock soared while posting an 8-2 record and a 1.71 ERA as a senior. The right-hander was named MVC Pitcher of the Year.
“I’ve been sitting around going through a normal day trying not to think about it too much,” Razo said. “My dad was listening to it. When I heard my name called I came out to make sure and they said it again.
“I guess I’m part of the Brew Crew now. But I’m not satisfied. I’m looking to do this as a career. I want to go as long as I can.”
Aguilera led the Redbirds with a .346 average and 58 RBIs. He tied for the team lead with seven home runs.
“We expected Eric to go earlier in the draft, but the draft is so unpredictable,” said Kingston. “The fortunate thing is Eric will get an opportunity.”
Illinois' Jordan Parr, whose brother Justin was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday, was picked as a third baseman in the 15th round by the Houston Astros.
Illini shortstop Thomas Lindauer was picked Houston in the 23rd round and teammate Kevin Johnson was taken by Oakland in the 24th round. Cincinnati selected Illinois junior college signee Alex Greer, an outfielder, in the 29th round.
Aper signs: Lincoln High School graduate Ryan Aper, a sixth round pick of the Miami Marlins on Friday, signed with the team Saturday and will not play for Middle Tennessee State.
“To finalize it and get my name on the dotted line feels amazing,” said Aper, a junior college All-American outfielder at Lincoln Land. “To call myself a professional baseball player is something I’ve dreamed of. To know that it’s a reality is very much a blessing.”
Aper will report to the Marlins’ rookie league team in Jupiter, Fla., later this month.