It was a busy day for the UCF baseball program as a trio of juniors were selected on the second day of the MLB First-Year Player Draft. LHP Joe Rogers, RHP Roman Madrid and SS Darnell Sweeney all were tabbed by big-league clubs Tuesday.
It was the second-straight year the program has had a fifth-round selection (Beau Taylor, Oakland), as Rogers went to the Detroit Tigers with the 184th overall pick. Madrid was snagged by the San Diego Padres in the seventh round with the 225th overall pick and Sweeney was taken in the 13th round with the No. 416 selection.
For the first time since 2005 multiple Knights were taken in the first 10 rounds. UCF has now produced 16 picks in the top-five rounds of the MLB Draft, and 29 overall in the first 10 rounds since 1979 (the program’s first year was in 1973).
Rogers, Madrid and Sweeney become the 81-83 players drafted in program history and the 14-16 since UCF head coach Terry Rooney arrived in the fall of 2008. Rooney has now had 43 pitchers selected in the MLB Draft, with Rogers and Madrid becoming the 11th and 12th taken in the first 10 rounds.
“The Tigers came out of nowhere and swooped me up. I was excited,” Rogers said earlier Tuesday. “I was sitting on the computer with Roman Madrid who just got drafted too and we were just hanging out and watching the tracker. I saw my name get called and it was just a very humbling experience.”
Rogers, a native of Winter Haven, closed out his stellar junior campaign with a single-season record 13 saves and broke the UCF all-time saves record with his 28th against Marshall on May 11. He registered No. 30 in the 9-8 win over No. 25 Stony Brook on June 2 and finished the year with a 5-1 record and a 1.47 ERA.
“(Rooney) has helped me become the person and the pitcher that I am today,” Rogers said of the man who brought him to UCF in 2009. “He has helped me on and off the field become not only tough on the mound, but mentally tougher off of it. Without him I wouldn’t be in the position that I am.”
For Madrid, Tuesday marked the second time he had been drafted in his career. The Cleveland Indians tabbed him in the 44th round in 2009 as a catcher, but he played junior college ball in Texas. The Victoria, Texas, native pitched with an edge in each of his 32 appearances and finished the season with three saves and a team-leading 1.00 ERA.
“I wasn’t trying to watch since I was a little nervous,” Madrid admitted after being selected. “I was just trying to let it happen and I ended up getting the call. There aren’t many things that can beat (getting drafted in the top 10). Getting drafted there is a big dream and just to be a part of it makes me feel very blessed.”
Previously drafted out of high school in the 41st round by the Florida Marlins in 2009, Sweeney boosted his draft stock after starting all but one game in three seasons at shortstop for the Knights. The Miramar native stole a career-best 20 bags in 2012 and was named to the Coral Gables All-Regional Team after making a plethora of defensive plays and smashing a key three-run homer in the 9-8 win over Stony Brook last Saturday.
“It feels good,” Sweeney said when asked about being drafted by a historic franchise like the Dodgers. “Dee Gordon (LA’s current shortstop) is someone I can look up to because he is the same stature and same everything as me.”
UCF’s Selections in the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft
- Joe Rogers – 5th Round, Detroit Tigers – No. 184
- Roman Madrid – 7th Round, San Diego Padres – No. 225
- Darnell Sweeney – 13th Round, L.A. Dodgers – No. 416