Two West Virginia University baseball players were selected in the 2016 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, giving head coach Randy Mazey at least two players drafted in each of his four years in Morgantown.
Right-handed pitcher Chad Donato, a Junior, was the first Mountaineer selected, going to his hometown Houston Astros in the 11th round with the 337th overall pick. Donato was named to the All-Big 12 First Team in his Junior season, and lead the Big 12 with 111 strikeouts. In 96 innings, Donato earned a 3.27 ERA, good for sixth in the Big 12 Conference, and a 1.96 ERA in Big 12 action, which was second-best in the league. Donato became the fourth player in Mountaineer history to be drafted by the Astros.
"I am more than blessed to be picked in the 2016 draft, and better yet by my hometown team, the Houston Astros. It's been my lifelong dream to become a professional baseball player. I want to thank all of my coaches along the way and especially the West Virginia family and staff. Thank you for everything you've done to make my lifelong dream come true. Once a Mountaineer, always a Mountaineer. Hail WVU!" - Chad Donato
Senior Right-handed pitcher Blake Smith was selected by the Los Angeles Angels with the 876th pick in the 29th round of the draft. Smith appeared in 25 games in his senior season at West Virginia and was named to the All-Big 12 Honorable Mention Team. He recorded eight saves, second-most in a single season in program history, and posted a team-best 2.20 ERA in 32 innings with 42 strikeouts and 15 walks. Smith is only the second Mountaineer ever to be drafted by the Angels.
"I couldn't be more excited to start my professional career. It's something that I've dreamed about for a while now and I'm just ready to get there and get started. Thanks to my Mountaineer family for everything during my two years at WVU. I couldn't have made it to this point without them and I am very grateful for the opportunity that they gave me." - Blake Smith
West Virginia signee Jordan Scott was also selected in the draft, going to the New York Yankees in the 14th round with the 428th overall pick. Scott and Donato will have until July 15th to decide if they want to pursue their careers in the majors or return to Morgantown.