HUNTSVILLE – Having players selected in the Major League Baseball Draft has become the norm for the Sam Houston State Bearkats, and that continued on Tuesday when Andrew Fregia, Dakota Mills and Blake Chisolm were each selected on Day 3 of the draft.
Fregia was selected in the 13th round (Pick 385) round by the Baltimore Orioles while Mills went in the 24th round (Pick 713) to the Oakland A’s. Chisolm followed that up with a 28th-round selection (Pick 851) by the Washington Nationals.
The selections mark the 13th consecutive season the Kats have had a player selected by a pro squad, and the fourth time in the past five seasons Sam Houston has had at least three players chosen. Meanwhile, Fregia is the first Bearkat since Ray Crone in 1985 to be chosen by the Orioles. It is the second straight year the A’s have plucked a pitcher from the Sam Houston ranks after also taking 2017 SLC Pitcher of the Year Heath Donica in last year’s draft. Chisolm is the second Kat to be selected by Washington, joining Ryan Brinley who was chosen in the 2015 draft.
Both Fregia and Mills have been a winning piece since joining the Bearkats in 2016, leading the Kats to 115 wins in that span, while Chisolm joined the fold prior to the 2017 season. Since 2016 helped Sam to two league titles, two NCAA Tournament appearances and a berth in the 2017 Tallahassee Super Regional, the first time any Southland Conference team has ever advanced that far in the NCAA Tournament.
For Fregia, being selected comes on the heels of the Liberty, Texas, native’s most productive season as a Bearkat. A first team all-Southland Conference shortstop in 2018, he hit .328 with 11 home runs, 49 RBI, 12 doubles and seven triples as a junior, in addition to scoring 53 runs and totaling 75 hits. Each of those numbers were tops for Sam Houston and helped the Kats go 39-20 and capture the 2018 Southland Conference title.
In all he started 182 of 184 games over the past three years, primarily on the left side of the infield at shortstop and third base, but also saw time in center field, at catcher and on the mound. He ranks in the all-time top 10 at SHSU in RBI (137) and home runs (26) while holding the SHSU and Southland Conference record with 19 career triples.
Meanwhile, Mills spent his first two years at Sam primarily in a starting and long relief role on the mound, but this year became the most dangerous weapon any Southland Conference team had at the back end of its bullpen. The righty was named the SLC Relief Pitcher of the Year and was a second team all-SLC choice after saving a league-high 15 games – second all time in a single season at SHSU – in 2018.
In all, he posted career numbers in his senior season with career bests in ERA (3.04), opponent’s batting average (.232) and strikeouts, punching out 74 hitters with just 12 walks in 53.1 innings. For his career he finished with, 12 wins, 157 strikeouts and only 35 walks in 164.2 frames, holding hitters to a .254 average.
Chisolm made a big impact on the Bearkat lineup in his two years in Huntsville, hitting .332 with 12 home runs, 29 doubles, five triples and 68 RBI in his time. He turned in a .447 on-base percentage and also slugged .534.
The 6-5 slugger was an honorable mention all-SLC choice both seasons and was named to the all-tournament team at the SLC Tournament in 2017. This season he blasted eight home runs and drove in 33, batting throughout the Bearkat lineup in 57 games played. He hit .321 for the year and slugged a dozen doubles, while also making four appearances on the mound in relief.
Head coach Matt Deggs on Fregia’s selection to Baltimore …
“My thing with the draft is this: it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish. He has a chance to play in the big leagues and I expect to see him there. He’s got the combo of speed, strength and athleticism that is hard to find. He’s also one of tte toughest players I’ve ever had. He has a high passion for the game and is really a throwback in that regard. We are all super proud of him.”
Deggs on Dakota Mills’ selection by the Oakland A’s …
“We are really proud for Dakota. He had a great year, one of the best I’ve ever had from a reliever. He throws a lot of strikes from a good angle with a lot of tilt. He could pitch for a long time for a long time out of the back end of someone’s bullpen. He is a physical guy who fills it up and we could not be happier for him.”
Deggs on Chisolm’s selection by the Washington Nationals …
“Chisolm is a physical guy who comes in an punches the card every day. An extremely hard worker and one of the toughest kids I’ve ever had. He can hit, which is a commodity in professional baseball. He has hit at every level and I expect him to go out and play for a long time. Power comes with age, but you can’t teach physicality and he is a big, physical guy and we are very happy for him to have this opportunity.”
Deggs on the Bearkats continuing to churn out MLB draft picks …
“There is a lot of parity in baseball right now. Across the country, the size of the school has no bearing on the talent level of the school. College baseball is on as equal footing as it’s ever been. It also says something about the way MLB is going now, which is that it’s using college baseball as a breeding ground and a quasi-minor league system for themselves.”