SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KWSN) – Augustana sophomore Jordan Milbrath has signed with the Cleveland Indians and will forego his junior and senior seasons, the Major League Baseball Club announced today. Milbrath has been assigned to the AZL Indians of the Arizona Rookie League in Goodyear, Ariz.
He is the sixth player from Augustana to be selected in the MLB Draft and the 12th to sign a professional contract."I'm excited and nervous," Milbrath said. "It's a great opportunity that I am really looking forward to and it is going to be a lot of fun.
I'm just going to give it my best and try to get better every day."
Since 2011, seven players from Augustana have signed professional contracts under the direction of the Vikings' skipper Tim Huber, including Milbrath, Bret Severtson, Nate Baumann, Drew Heithoff, Derek Hansen, Casey Jacobson and Charlie Dubanoski. Last year, Hansen was selected with the 769th pick in the 25th round of the MLB Draft, and is the highest draft pick in school history. Augustana has had the most baseball players sign professional contracts of any team in the NSIC since 2011."
Jordan has come a long way in the past couple of years," Huber said. "He worked very hard in our offseason weight program and was able to add velocity to his fastball while improving each outing. The sky is the limit for Jordan with the combination of his frame and work ethic. He has the ability to throw even harder if he continues to work as hard as he did at Augustana."
Milbrath, a right-handed pitcher from Springfield, Minn., was drafted by Cleveland with the 1,041st pick of the 35th round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft on June 8.
Milbrath posted a 7-2 record in 2013 for the Vikings, making a team-high 12 starts. The sophomore posted a 4.57 ERA in 67.0 innings of work while striking out a team-high 60 batter while tossing two complete games and holding opponents to a .285 batting average.
"The Cleveland Indians' organization obviously feels that Jordan has a lot of upside as well," Huber said. "He had a tough time deciding to give up his remaining eligibility and give professional baseball a shot. He originally turned down an offer from the Indians and was staying at Augustana, but they upped their offer and it was too good of an opportunity for him to turn down. It is tough for us to keep losing such talented pitchers out of our rotation, but this is obviously an exciting time for Jordan, his family and Augustana baseball."
Milbrath struck out a season-high nine batters in 6.1 innings of work against Southwest Minnesota State on March 29 and struck out seven batters in a game on three occasions during the season."
I hadn't pitched for two seasons, but the offseason work I put in at Augustana helped me to develop as a pitcher," Milbrath said. "The coaching staff and my teammates helped me every time I went out on the mound. Coach Huber did a great job preparing me to become a draft eligible player on the field, but he also coached me through the entire process of becoming a professional baseball player."
Augustana finished the 2013 season with a school record 38 wins, finishing 38-18, marking its fourth straight season of 30-plus wins. The Vikings posted a 21-7 record in NSIC play, which was good for a third place finish.
Augustana College is located in Sioux Falls, S.D. and is a member of NCAA Division II and competes in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.
Courtesy: Augustana College