FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Day three of the 2018 Major League Baseball Draft came and went Wednesday, but not before two more Nova Southeastern standouts heard their names called. Starting pitcher Devin Conn was scooped up by the reigning World Champion Houston Astros in the 19th round, pick No. 582, while reliever Joe Strzelecki was later selected by the hometown Miami Marlins in the 34th round, pick No. 1,017.
Joining catcher Jake Anchia, who was taken off the board by the Seattle Mariners in the seventh round just a day earlier, the Sharks have now had at least three players drafted in each of the previous four years.
An electric right-hander, Conn didn’t waste much time capturing the attention of the Sunshine State Conference and the Division II landscape as a whole. Named the Opening Day starter, the Parkland, Fla. product fanned 13 batters over seven scoreless innings in his Nova Southeastern debut, the first of seven outings in 2018 in which he racked up double-digit strikeouts. Flashing multiple arm angles and a fastball that consistently sat in the low 90s, Conn finished the regular season with the second-most strikeouts in all of Division II, piling up 128 strikeouts in just 85.1 innings. His efforts would eventually propel him to both All-SSC and All-South Region honors. Just a redshirt-sophomore, though, the door still remains open for Conn to return to the Sharks for at least one more season.
With a 6-4, 220-pound frame and a fastball clocked at 97 miles per hour, it is no surprise the Marlins made Strzelecki a priority. Used primarily as the Sharks’ closer in 2018, Strzelecki collected a team-high six saves in 18 appearances, 13 of which were scoreless outings. He compiled a 2.73 earned run average in 29.2 innings, while limiting opponents to a .225 batting average. Strzelecki becomes the second NSU righty drafted by the Marlins in the last three years after Alex Mateo was taken in the 22nd round back in 2016.
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