In something of a surprise, Ohio State baseball’s Shea Murray became the first Buckeye selected in the Major League Baseball draft on Wednesday. Murray, a 6-foot-6, 240-pound redshirt senior, went in the 18th round, No. 538 overall, to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
After redshirting in 2013, Murray spent the next three seasons seeing very little action as a relief pitcher. In total, he appeared in 13 games, allowing 15 earned runs in just 12.1 innings of work, good for a 10.95 earned run average. Opposing hitters batted .362 against him, and he sported a 2.68 WHIP.
Prior to his final year of eligibility, the Defiance, Ohio native made the decision to convert to the outfield. Ohio State had just watched juniors Ronnie Dawson and Troy Montgomery exit the program via the draft, and had little in the way of experience to roam the alleys of Bill Davis Stadium. Despite not having played in the field or swung a bat in a game during his time in Columbus, Murray filled in quite admirably, eventually playing his way into the starting lineup.
For the 2017 season, he started 36 games and appeared in 50, putting together a .252/.329/.449 slash line, with 10 doubles, three triples, three home runs, and 17 runs batted in. Murray also showed a penchant for big plays in the outfield, using his athleticism and long strides to get to balls others might not have.
The Buckeyes finished 2017 with a 22-34 record, the worst mark since head coach Greg Beals took over the program. Going 8-16 in conference play, the team missed out on the Big Ten tournament and an opportunity to defend its title from the season prior.
Murray was announced as a pitcher when the Pirates made the selection, and is said to have hit 99 mph on the radar gun in bullpen sessions thrown after the season. You can’t teach size or athletic ability, and he has both in spades.
We wish Murray luck as he embarks on his professional career.