Creighton’s top three hitters from this year’s NCAA regional team will not return to school for their senior seasons after getting selected in the MLB draft. But the Jays’ coaches had prepared for that possibility.
Developing pitching depth and identifying reliable contributors on the mound remains the biggest offseason concern for Creighton coach Ed Servais.
Creighton’s pitching staff lost three weekend starters and its closer. They were all seniors — so their departures didn’t catch the Jays by surprise, either, Servais said. But he said veteran pitchers are tougher to replace.
“Pitching is really hard to come by,” Servais said. “That’s the part that we’ll spend the better part of the summer trying to evaluate. We’ll try to get the arms in here that can sustain that rotation.”
Servais noted that he’s encouraged about the young pitching talent in the program. But the Bluejays may need to find some experience on the mound, too.
And then, yes, they’ll have to figure out how to replace some serious firepower at the plate.
Will Robertson, a fourth-round MLB draft pick, has agreed to a deal with Toronto. Ninth-rounder Isaac Collins decided to join Colorado’s franchise. And Jake Holton, selected in the 10th round, signed with Detroit.
Robertson actually made his professional debut Friday. He batted fourth for the Single-A Vancouver Canadians, going 0 for 3 with a walk. Robertson was the highest drafted Creighton player in the past 20 years.
Robertson, Collins and Holton combined for 52.2% of Creighton’s home runs, 41.4% of its runs and 46.1% of its RBIs last season. The Jays also will be losing senior shortstop Jack Strunc and senior third baseman Jordan Hovey.
But Servais indicated that the Jays have made junior college additions to help. They’ll certainly have big shoes to fill.
According to MLB.com reporter Jim Callis, Robertson’s signing bonus was $422,500. Collins signed for $150,500 and Holton signed for $147,000, according to Callis. Mitch Ragan (15th round to the New York Mets), Strunc (25th to Miami) and Denson Hull (28th to Arizona) were also drafted. Evan Johnson signed a free agent deal with the Seattle Mariners.
CU’s six-man 2019 MLB draft class was its biggest since 1993, when a school-record seven Bluejays were selected. Creighton won the Big East regular-season and tournament titles this season and earned an NCAA regional berth for the first time since 2012.