The weekend rotation for Ohio State baseball is certain to look very different in 2019 than it did this season, as a second member was selected in the 2018 MLB draft. Friday night starter Connor Curlis was taken in the 24th round by the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday, and follows Saturday starter Ryan Feltner who went to the Rockies in Round 4.
Curlis, who just completed his junior season for the Buckeyes, was the 709th overall selection in the draft, a position that carries a signing bonus expectation of $125,000 or less, though there could be some room for negotiation. College pitchers selected after their junior seasons tend to sign unless a big jump in draft stock can be reasonably expected, in order to start their professional development.
The southpaw, who entered the season as the No. 18 prospect in the Big Ten by Perfect Game, logged a 7-4 record with a 3.55 earned run average in 2018, with a 1.33 WHIP in 88.2 innings of work. Curlis struck out 77 while walking just 31, and held opposing batters to a .264 batting average.
A native of Findlay, Ohio, Curlis made just four relief appearances as a freshman in 2016, and appeared in 20 games (eight starts) as a sophomore a season ago. His development over the past calendar year has been evident, though.
Last summer, playing for the Champion City Kings of the Prospect League, the left-hander had a memorable run, going 2-3 with a 2.63 ERA and a 0.90 WHIP, striking out 82 in 58 innings of work. He carried over that momentum to fall ball, including a “Cy Young”-winning performance in the Scarlet and Gray Series, and cemented the top spot in the starting rotation.
Much as was seen two years ago when Tanner Tully, another control-type lefty, was drafted out of Ohio State, the safe bet is that Curlis will want to get into a pro system and begin his development at the next level sooner rather than later. Land-Grant Holy Land hopes it’s a smooth transition, and wishes him luck.