Senior Justin Parr was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies in the eighth round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on Friday.
June 7, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Senior Justin Parr (Chillicothe, Ill./Illinois Valley Central HS/Parkland College) was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies in the eighth round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on Friday. Parr, who was taken with the 241st overall pick, becomes the highest-drafted Illini since 2009 when Brandon Wikoff was selected in the fifth round by the Houston Astros.
"I am extremely excited to continue my career and be able to keep playing," Parr said. "I am proud to call myself an Illini and thankful for everyone who has helped me reach this dream. I am really happy to be a part of the Phillies organization and hope to start playing soon.
"I tried to go about a normal day and not put too much pressure on myself. I was really humbled and just happy to get an opportunity to play. All the glory goes to God. I am glad it's done for me, and now I am just looking to see where Jordan will go."
Parr is the 22nd Illini player to be drafted in the first 10 rounds since 1980 and third to be picked in the eighth round. He is the third UI player to be chosen by the Phillies, joining Brett Weber (16th round, 1997), who did not sign, and Dan O'Neill (27th round, 1999). He also is the third Parr to be drafted out of Illinois, as older brother Josh Parr was taken by the Arizona Diamondbacks (12th round) in 2011 and twin brother Jordan Parr was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers (26th round) in 2012, but did not sign.
Parr played three years at Illinois after beginning his career with a season at Parkland College. He was named a Louisville Slugger First-Team All-American by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper following a stellar senior season in 2013. He became the eighth Illini to earn Big Ten Player of the Year honors and first since Lars Davis in 2007. A first-team All-Big Ten selection, he also was tabbed a semifinalist for USA Baseball's Golden Spikes Award and the NCBWA's Dick Howser Trophy, honoring the National Player of the Year, and the inaugural Gregg Olson Award, given to the Breakout Player of the Year.
Parr turned in the second-longest hitting streak in the NCAA in 2013 with a school-record mark of 33 games, breaking Ryan Snowden's previous mark of 25 games. He ranked ninth in the nation in average (.398) and 11th in the nation in hits (92), which led the Big Ten in each category. He also notched the second-most RBI (53) and triples (4) along with the second-best slugging percentage (.576) and on-base percentage (.453) in the Big Ten. He hit for the cycle against Purdue (4/14), becoming first Illini to do so since 2009, finishing 4-for-5 with four RBI and a career-high four runs in the contest. The Illini center fielder posted a perfect fielding percentage, recording 134 putouts and three assists without an error.