ASU Baseball: Four Arizona State pitchers selected on Day 3 of the 2021 MLB Draft

Richard Martinez/ House of Sparky

The potential 2021 Arizona State draft class wasn’t going to be as star studded as the 2020 class, but the the final day of the 2021 Draft saw four Arizona State pitchers come off the board.

Left-handed pitcher Erik Tolman was selected in the 14th round by the Washington Nationals in the MLB Draft.

Tolman, a redshirt junior, only threw 13.1 innings this past season after he was one of the Arizona State arms that needed Tommy John surgery. As a freshman, he really came onto the stage throwing 48 innings with a 3.38 ERA. Before the season was cut short in 2020, Tolman flourished in the starting rotation having a 2.50 ERA in 18 innings and a 30-12 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

There will need to be a decision made by Tolman. He has two years left of college eligibility to use. His stock could he higher as his pitching arsenal is impressive, but coming off Tommy John he’d need to bet on himself if he were to return to Arizona State. If Tolman were to return he’d come into a smaller role to begin before likely heading back into the starting rotation.

Meanwhile, the 17th round became the Arizona State round. Justin Fall, Cooper Benson and Tyler Thornton were all picked by various clubs.

Fall, who was healthy throughout the year, was the first selection heading to the Miami Marlins. The redshirt senior took over one of the main starting roles after multiple injuries last season. The expectations set for him when he arrived to Arizona State were probably never achieved after ERAs of 5.68 in 2020 and 4.09 in 2021, but got the job done.

Benson was a draft eligible sophomore. He had a lot of fans about being a high pick coming into the 2021 season before having Tommy John surgery. Despite the Toronto Blue Jays taking Benson 512th overall, it seems more likely Benson tries to use his three more years of college eligibility to raise his stock back up and return from injury.

The Cleveland Indians took Tyler Thornton four picks after Benson. The St. Mary’s transfer filled the role of the Friday night starter last season and his 5.54 ERA is a bit inflated after he was asked to give longer outings to provide relief to the bullpen. Thornton has two years of remaining eligibility and seems more likely to return than not based on that.

Willie Bloomquist certainly would get a boost if Tolman, Benson and Thornton all returned to Tempe. However, at the end of the day they’re all young men who are so close to life-long dreams being achieved. We’ll have any updates on their statuses as they come available.


Spivey just decommitted and flipped to TCU.

Not good.

I think he's the first one since the Mawae stuff came out.

Once we get to 3 +, then it’ll be time to panic

We really needed some depth at TE too.

He was a really big guy and would have been a great addition. It sucks to see him go. Oh well, on to the next one.

Yeah, but I think Conyers and Hodges will get the job done.

I don’t know who else we have on the depth chart. Maybe if we knew someone who could post it like they did the QBs and RBS.

We are still going to be left with Hodges, Conyers, Stivers, Hatch and Morgan.

But at 6’5" 240 this dude was ready to go right now. Plus, he was a recruit out of the South, and we don’t get those guys in bunches. Conyers should be a stud though. He set a few impressive records in Oklahoma and could have gone anywhere he wanted. He’s a threat with the ball in his hand and underrated if you ask me.

From a publicly available article

The transfer is tied to him not getting into ASU’s undergrad Business program.

"Spivey wanted to enroll in an undergraduate business program at ASU but was unable to, according to a person familiar with his decision to instead transfer to TCU. "

Good luck to him, hope he kills it at TCU.

Next man up.

He could not get into the WP Carey School of Business

Not sure why he could not get in but that was the key factor to never making it to ASU. Had he been able to get into WP, he would be a Sun Devil. Not sure if that changes your perspective but this was not due to the hack yahoo sports hit pieces or him having concerns about the football program or the staff. This was a result of academics of some sort.

That's disappointing.

I wonder if he really didn’t want to come here and let his academics slip so he’d have a ready made escape clause. Either way, academics should never be an issue, looking at you Elijah Badger.

I want to stress, I don't know why he did not get admitted to WP

I believe he was serious about being a Sun Devil as he was here on campus in May trying to get paperwork done and he even signed the Grant-in-Aid letter too. That basically sealed the deal until the unexpected news that he was not admitted so he was then let out of that commitment.

got to respect a player making an academics-based decision


He seemed genuinely interested in ASU. Bummer it fell apart at the goal line.

panicking again I see

To each his own.

I read he couldn’t get into the business program he was trying to get into. Since we’d assume if people were academically qualified they’d get preferred inclusion. Makes one wonder if he didn’t qualify for it and went elsewhere.

We definitely need to two TJ pitchers back

but from what I hear, they might not be ready to see game action until half way through next season. That brings them to an interesting crossroads of getting paid while rehabbing or coming back to college, potentially pitching a only a few games or no games, which would almost ensure them of not being drafted or drafted very late (aka losing value) and having to come back for the following season. I guess it is a good problem for them to figure out but glad I am not them…such a hard decision.

OKAY Baseball guys and gals, I have made a baseball post…would love to get a baseball discussion started that involved you baseball guys and gals.

TJ Pitchers

Recovery from Tommy John Surgery is typically 12-16 months. These guys were hurt pretty early in the year so if no setbacks they would be back in 2022. If any setbacks or a slow recovery they’d be out all of next year too. They probably wouldn’t be tossing 100 pitches an outing when they first come back. It would be monitored relief appearances at first, gradually throwing more and more pitches each outing.

The pay they are giving up will be pretty meager. They would almost certainly get assigned to a complex league which is only a few hundred $ a week during the season ($0 in the offseason). For players at that level the big earn is the signing bonus. As players picked in the teens and injured they might only be looking at $5k in that regard. $75k would be considered a strong bonus. Ultimately the decision on whether to come back depends on the quality of medical care, where they are in their studies, and their ultimate goals in life.

Appreciate the insight from a guy who is more of a baseball guy than I am

Your points make sense…eager to see what they do

TE Depth Chart

Pass-Catching Role:
1 – Curtis Hodges, RS-SR Has good straight line speed and good hands for a TE, but was thin as a rail with limited bend and flex.
2 – Jaylin Conyers, RS-SO Was the #5 TE in his highschool class, basketball background and projected as a prolific pass catching TE with limited blocking ability. His position was not used in Oklahoma’s offense. He was dominant working with the 2s and 3s during Spring.
3 – Jake Ray, RS-FR He was committed to Wyoming before he switching to ASU. Played WR in highschool and has limited potential until proven otherwise

Blocking TE/FB:
1 – Case Hatch, JR After his mission, he walked-on to ASU and was a special teams stud delivering huge hits and clearly had a knack for hard-nosed football. He has since been given a scholarship, made a team captain, and plays primarily as a FB. He is a beast of a blocker and also showed some decent hands to pull in a couple of grabs. Should be a fan favorite player, if not already
2 – John Stivers, GR – A transfer from Harvard that will be a grad student, in a limited 4-game debut he demosntrated some pretty adept blocking ability and will routinely be a guy sealing the edges and go unnoticed as our RBs take off for gains. I thought blocking-wise, he was a pretty good TE.
3 – Jake Ray, RS-FR A very low end recruit with no P5 offers, limited potential until proven otherwise

Wildcard (or name that will be mentioned but not really seen in-game) – Ethan Long, RS-SO A very low-end QB recruit (probably would have ended up at an Ivy league school but for Likens), he apparently has incredible character and is an excellent student. On the football field, apparently his passing is so poor he isn’t even on the QB depth chart even though its insanely thin. As a TE, in limited action he was rag-dolled and is generously listed as 215lbs. How many TEs are 215lbs… I have nothing against him as he seems like a great guy, but he doesn’t seem to have a position in college football.

Oops pass catching te3

Is suppose to be Ryan Morgan not Ray lol

Spivey would've been good.

Like you said, next man up..

The Athletic is running recruiting articles about each high profile State around the country. Today they did Cali.

They anonomously interviewed 8 current high coaches, and a few current Pac 12 coaches. Here are a few highlights about what they said about ASU

"Arizona State’s been aggressive. They’ve been doing their thing. Oregon always is pretty aggressive. SC and UCLA, they have such innate advantages where they are that they don’t need to be as up front as the other guys. They’re doing fine. … Definitely, the Arizona States and Oregons of the world are pushing harder than anybody."

"Antonio (Pierce) at ASU has done a great job. He’s a nice guy who works his ass off. I just hope he makes it through this. I like the DBs coach at UCLA, Brian Norwood. He’s something."

"I like (Arizona State co-wide receivers coach) Prentice Gill. He’s got energy. (Antonio Pierce) and Prentice Gill. I like both of them. They both work hard. Those two guys understand coming back to the inner city, where they’re from, and getting their kids. They’re from L.A. and they want L.A. kids."

ASU finishes 20 in the all important Directors Cup. The Directors Cup is the single most important trophy that mankind has ever created.

More from the NCAA and college football implications

Makes me wonder if Herm and AP were getting a head start.

Some interesting excerpts.

" The Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, for one, has been promoting a plan to revamp Division I and pull major college football out of the NCAA’s purview altogether.

Emmert has spoken out against that specific idea, but his comments suggest change is certainly on the table."


"You can lean back and do nothing and then just wait and see what happens," Emmert said. "Or you can say, ‘Look, we’re in it. This is a new era.’ We need to take advantage of it, pivot as much as we can toward the areas that I was just talking about and and embrace that change rather than fighting it."

That SC ruling changed everything

and the fact it came out before the hit pieces is another reason I’m very confident nothing will come of it. The other reason for my confidence is that these "violations" were regarding the arbitrary covid dead period emergency rules. Sorry punk azz Oregon and tuscum trolls, the egg is on you.

More Football Talk

What Steele said: "Two of my nine sets of power ratings actually call for the (Sun Devils) to go 12-0, so naturally, they are going to make my Surprise Team list."

Also, "…Sun Devils, who seemed to have temporarily escaped last month’s bombshell associated with reported recruiting violations and potential consequences."


Personally I’d love to see ASU stonewall them, draw it out on a longer timeline, I’m talking 3+ years like UNC did with their fake class nonsense. The NCAA has lost their grip on amateurism this summer, they’ve been losing their grip on D1 football entirely. Delay, draw it out, and you might be outside NCAA purview by the time the investigation nears its conclusion.

This is the way

Innocent until proven guilty, and that "dossier" is almost entirely hearsay

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