June 9, 2016
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. –– Virginia’s Matt Thaiss (Jr., Jackson, N.J.) and Connor Jones (Jr., Chesapeake, Va.) were selected Thursday in the first day of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. Thaiss was a first-round selection, going No. 16 overall to the Los Angeles Angels. Jones was a second-round pick (70th overall) to the St. Louis Cardinals.
This marks the third straight year that Virginia has produced a first-round draft pick ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬” a first in UVA history. Thaiss became the fifth Cavalier in that span to be taken in the first round. He is Virginia’s 10th first-round draft pick in program history and UVA’s highest-ever pick at catcher.
Just the fourth two-time All-American in program history, Thaiss was a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy and Johnny Bench Award in 2016 and also earned Second-Team All-ACC honors. He led the Cavaliers with a .375 batting average this season and also topped the team in home runs (10) and RBI (59) while ranking second in hits (87). Thaiss started all 60 games in 2016, with 53 coming behind the plate, including each of UVA final 29 games. In 153 career games, he is a .338 hitter.
A 2016 Second-Team All-American and First-Team All-ACC pitcher, Jones was 11-1 with a 2.34 ERA in an ACC-best 103 2/3 innings as Virginia’s Friday starter this season. He allowed 85 hits and 38 walks while striking out 72. Also a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award and Dick Howser Trophy, Jones finished with three complete games and worked at least six innings in 11 of his 15 starts. In ACC play, Jones had a league-high nine wins and three complete games while limiting opponents to a .209 batting average. He currently is tied for fourth in career wins at UVA with 22 and eighth in innings with 274.
The draft continues Friday with rounds 3-10. The final 30 rounds are set for Saturday.