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5 Duke baseball players and top-tier commit selected in 2022 MLB Draft

Marcus Johnson was drafted by the Miami Marlins with the 112th overall pick Monday.
Marcus Johnson was drafted by the Miami Marlins with the 112th overall pick Monday.

Five Blue Devils are going pro via the 2022 MLB Draft.

Pitcher Henry Williams was selected with the 91st overall pick in the third round of the draft by the San Diego Padres and fellow hurler Marcus Johnson was picked 112th by the Miami Marlins in the following round. 

On the final day of the draft, the Padres also selected infielder Graham Pauley 390th overall in the 13th round, pitcher Billy Seidl was picked 461st overall in the 15th round by the Chicago White Sox and pitcher Jimmy Loper went to the New York Mets with the 479th overall pick in the 16th round.

Williams and Johnson, both juniors, exemplified their pro potential while playing under head coach Chris Pollard at Duke, but they took very different paths to this point.

Williams brought excellent stuff out of Darien, Conn., and became the Saturday starter for the Blue Devils in 2021. He was arguably the Blue Devils’ most dominant pitcher—despite the team’s overall struggles—until he was sidelined due to tightness in April. His 3-3 record, 3.65 ERA and 10.9 K/9 in his abbreviated sophomore year had Duke looking for more from the righty, only for him to undergo Tommy John surgery on his elbow and miss his entire junior season. 

His 37.2 innings of work at the college level were not enough to dissuade the pro scouts, who still marvel over his mid-90s fastball, solid breaking ball and 6-foot-5 frame.

"On behalf of our coaching staff, let me say that we are all really happy to see Henry make the jump to professional baseball," Duke head coach Chris Pollard said in a team release Tuesday. "The Padres are getting one of the real steals of the draft. Now that the injuries are in the past, I am excited to watch him flourish in the San Diego organization."

Johnson, on the other hand, got off to a strong start out of the bullpen as the 6-foot-6 California native led the ACC champion Blue Devils in 2021 while pacing the team in several categories his sophomore year. He pitched his way to a 5-3 record with seven saves and a 3.05 ERA while holding a WHIP of 0.93 and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 4.92. He led the way in the ACC tournament and was one of the biggest pieces in Duke’s late-season surge. However, it was a different story for Johnson as he transitioned from the bullpen to a starting role. 

His 2022 campaign saw him throw 69.0 innings with a less pleasant 5.61 ERA and a touch less zip on his fastball. Regardless, he—and Williams—are each joining an excellent farm system with the Padres and Marlins. 

"I am absolutely thrilled for Marcus," Pollard said in Tuesday's release. "It has been so much fun to watch him grow during his time at Duke. He has a comprehensive understanding of how to blend work ethic, process, competitive fight, and leadership. I have no doubt he will have a very long and successful professional career."

Pauley heads to the San Diego organization after stellar improvement in his second season as an everyday player. The Milton, Ga., native started every game at third base and was the team’s top hitter out of one of the two top spots in the lineup. 

In the later rounds, righties Seidl and Loper were picked after solid collegiate careers of their own. Seidl, a native of Wellesley, Mass., was valuable out of both the bullpen and as a starter, racking up 11.7 K/9 over his career. Loper—used primarily as the Blue Devils’ closer in 2022—collected five saves this past season and starred in Duke’s April sweep of then-No. 10 Notre Dame. 

Shortstop Cole Young, a Duke signee, was drafted 21st overall by the Seattle Mariners. Young was a star at his high school outside of Pittsburgh, and he now becomes the fourth Blue Devil commit to be selected in the first round in the last six years.


Micah Hurewitz | Sports Managing Editor

Micah Hurewitz is a Trinity junior and a sports managing editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.


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