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ASU Baseball: Tradition carries as eight Sun Devils go in 2023 MLB Draft

Arizona State baseball produces eight MLB Draft picks from 2023 roster

Zac BonDurant

Arizona State has been a hotbed for Major League Baseball talent since the first amateur draft held in 1965. With the first overall selection, the Kansas City Athletics took an outfielder by the name of Rick Monday, an American Baseball Coaches Association All-American while leading the Sun Devils to their first College World Series Championship. Since then, the Sun Devils have produced 473 MLB draft picks, the single most by any school in history. In fact, an astonishing 50.3% of all-time ASU rostered players have been drafted.

With the 2023 draft ending on Tuesday, eight Arizona State players heard their name called in the draft, tied for the fourth most among Division-I programs this year. Six pitchers were selected over the 20 rounds, giving ASU the most pitcher heavy draft since 2010.

Junior infielder Luke Keaschall—Round 2, Overall pick 49—Minnesota Twins

Keaschall, a transfer from University of San Francisco, made an immediate impact as a junior in what is likely his only season at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. His ability on the diamond caught attention from the Minnesota Twins, selecting him on the first day of the draft in the second round. Throughout the year head coach Willie Bloomqusit praised Keaschall for his work ethic and leadership as a student-athlete, making his claim for Keaschall’s first round potential.

Keaschall’s monster year ended with a .353 batting average with 18 home runs and 58 RBIs. Earning Second Team All-American status, he now joins 132 Sun Devils to earn All-American prestige.

Keaschall’s .364 batting average was good enough for sixth in the Pac-12 during conference games and led the league in conference play home runs with 13. Keaschall’s .969 fielding percentage proved his value in the field as well.

Despite Keaschall’s athletic ability, perhaps his greatest tool was his leadership with the team. During the Sun Devil Baseball Awards Banquet, Keaschall was recognized with the Alan Davis Leadership Award as well as the Outstanding Offensive Player Award.

Junior left-handed pitcher Ross Dunn—Round 10, Overall pick 297— Minnesota Twins

Joining Keaschall in the Twin Cities system was junior left-handed pitcher Ross Dunn, selected in the 10th round. Dunn’s first three years were spent at Florida State, before transferring for the 2023 season.

In Dunn’s first year with the program, the southpaw starter toed the rubber 15 times for Arizona State, finishing with a 4.27 ERA, a 4-6 record, 84 strikeouts and an opponents batting average of .254 in 65.1 innings pitched.

Dunn’s best outing came late in the regular season against conference opponent USC where Dunn went 6.0 innings, allowing two runs on eight hits and struck out four Trojans. Dunn’s 4.27 ERA was lowest among Sun Devil starting pitchers this year. On three such occasions, Dunn had over eight strikeouts in his starts.

Dunn was named at All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention at the conclusion of the season.

Junior right-handed pitcher Khristian Curtis—Round 12, Overall pick 347— Pittsburgh Pirates

The junior right-handed pitcher from Texas A&M showed electric stuff at times during his one year for the Sun Devils and in the 12th round the Pirates made the selection to draft Curtis.

The 6-foot-5, 215-pound pitcher carried an athletic motion which featured a mid 90’s fastball and sharp breaking ball that made him a projectable prospect off the mound. Curtis was 4-3 in 14 starts including one appearance from the bullpen. He pitched 64 innings with a 7.03 ERA and 58 strikeouts. Recovering from Tommy John surgery the season previous with the Aggies, Curtis made 5 appearances with a 2-0 record in 19 innings pitched.

Curtis’ best start came against USC in April going seven scoreless innings. Only striking out three, he threw 100 pitches and only allowed five hits and one walk, and was an effective traffic control pitcher, only allowing 24 percent of base runners to score once reaching base — sixth lowest in the Pac-12.

Junior left-handed pitcher Timmy Manning— Round 12, Overall pick 360— San Francisco Giants

The junior left-hander from Pompano Beach, Fla. played two years at University of Florida before transferring for his junior year to Tempe. Manning made 18 career appearances as a Gator, earning one win with a career 5.50 ERA in 37.2 innings.

While at ASU, Manning made 20 appearances, nine of which were starts. Manning was 1-4 with a 7.26 ERA across 53.1 innings pitched, striking out 66 batters and holding opposing batters to hit .275.

While Manning struggled early, his role out of the bullpen seemed to fit Manning better, as he struck out at least six in his last four appearances of the season. Manning’s breaking ball was his best pitch as he began to feel more confident with his secondary stuff as the season progressed.

Manning’s best appearance came in a critical game for the Sun Devils when Manning cruised through six innings allowing three runs to UCLA on 101 pitches. Manning struck out six, walking only one in his strongest start to the season in the final Pac-12 conference series.

Junior right-handed pitcher Josh Hansell— Round 16, Overall pick 496— Kansas City Royals

Playing two years in the ASU baseball program, the junior right-handed pitcher was a transfer from Wichita State where he played his freshman year.

Hansell’s sophomore year saw the righty take the mound six times for the Sun Devils, going 0-1 in 4.1 innings pitched.

Hansell’s junior year saw much more volume, as he made 17 appearances with four starts. Hansell was 2-1 with a 7.47 ERA across 31.1 innings pitched. His best outing was a 3.0 innings scoreless effort against UCLA, striking out four.

Hansell’s 6-foot-6 frame featured long legs with a developing fastball that flashed mid 90’s at times. His long release and natural height give him an advantage to develop, now as a professional.

Junior right-handed pitcher Blake Pivaroff— Round 19, Overall pick 560— Detroit Tigers

The only non-transfer to be chosen from the Sun Devil program, junior right-handed pitcher Blake Pivaroff made a living from entering the bullpen for three years.

In 48 career appearances, Pivaroff held a 5.68 ERA and pitched 58.2 innings all from the bullpen. Often the middle relief man of the Sun Devils, Pivroff the most used pitcher on the 2023 Sun Devil staff with 27 appearances this past season.

Pivaroff was 3-2 on the year with a 4.18 ERA including three saves. His 27 appearances were good enough by 11th most in the Pac-12.

Pivaroff’s career includes 48 plate appearances as well, as the converted infielder made the full switch to the mound before the 2023 season.

Senior infielder Wyatt Crenshaw—Round 19, Overall pick 565—Arizona Diamondbacks

The senior from Chandler, Ariz. spent four years at Colorado Christian College where he made 99 career appearances. Cresnhaw transferred to ASU for his final year of collegiate eligibility, and was chosen by the hometown Arizona Diamondbacks. Cresnhaw is the first Colorado Christian College player to be drafted in the school’s history.

In Crenshaw’s one year spent as a Sun Devil, Crenshaw was a mature hitter batting .264 with nine home runs and 32 RBIs. Cresnhaw hit 16 doubles, which placed him fourth in the Pac-12 regular season. He was selected as an All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention.

Cresnhaw’s stellar defense in the outfield was also on display throughout the year, only committing one error all year. Crenshaw was selected as an infielder, despite spending most of his time in the outfield of Phoenix Municipal Stadium in 2023.

Junior right-handed pitcher Owen Stevenson—Round 19, Overall pick 573—Tampa Bay Rays

Transferring from University of San Francisco, right-hander Owen Stevenson was a back end staple in the 2023 Sun Devil bullpen. The former Don spent two years at USF before transferring.

Stevenson was 6-3 with a 6.04 ERA in 26 appearances, including three early starts in the season. His six wins led Arizona State pitchers, all while compiling a team leading four saves. His explosive fastball reached upper 90’s, helping Stevenson strikeout 52 batters in 50.2 innings pitched.

Stevenson’s best appearance came against Washington State where he fanned five batters in a six out save situation, helping ASU to the 6-2 victory in early April.

Of the eight players drafted, seven were transfers to Bloomquist’s squad, an impressive feat of recruiting for the two time coach. Also included in Bloomquist’s efforts was the 23rd overall pick in the draft Ralphy Velazquez to the Cleveland Guardians, a 2024 Sun Devil signee.