Three Illini, One Signee Picked on Final Day of MLB Draft
June 8, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Three University of Illinois baseball players were selected on the final day of the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft, plus one Illini signee as redshirt-junior outfielder Jordan Parr (Chillicothe, Ill./Illinois Valley Central HS/Parkland College), junior shortstop Thomas Lindauer (Moline, Ill./Moline HS) and senior right-handed pitcher Kevin Johnson (Midlothian, Ill./Mount Carmel HS) all heard their names called Saturday. In total, Illinois garnered the most draft picks in the Big Ten with four.
Parr was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 15th round, Lindauer was picked by the Houston Astros in the 23rd round and Johnson was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 24th round. In addition, Illini junior college outfielder signee Alex Greer (Liberty, Mo./Fort Osage HS/Iowa Western Community College) was selected by the Cincinnati Reds in the 29th round.
With Parr, Lindauer and Johnson joining senior Justin Parr - who was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies in the eighth round on Friday - Illinois had four current players drafted for the third consecutive season. Prior to 2011, that hadn't happened since 2005.
Parr, who played first base and left field at Illinois, was drafted as a third baseman by the Diamondbacks. He will join the organization that also drafted his older brother and former Illini shortstop Josh Parr in 2011 (12th round). The Chillicothe, Ill., native ended his second season as an Illini with a bang, as he was named to the Nashville Regional All-Tournament Team after belting three home runs during the regional.
"It is a great honor to be drafted," Jordan Parr said. "I am extremely thankful for the opportunity the Diamondbacks organization has given to me. I am really looking forward to playing third base in that system. It was always my dream to play at Illinois, so I want to thank coach Hartleb for giving me that chance out of junior college. It has been great to be a part of the Illini family, and I really appreciate what coach Snider and all the coaches have done to make me a better player."
Parr earned second-team All-Big Ten honors after finishing in the top five in the Big Ten in five offensive categories. The Illini clean-up hitter tied for the most stolen bases (23) in the Big Ten and totaled a career-high nine home runs, which was tied for second in the conference. He finished fourth in the Big Ten with 33 walks and a team-high 50 runs and fifth in the conference with 47 RBI. He was drafted for the second year in a row after being picked by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012 (26th round).
Lindauer is the fourth Illini drafted by the Astros and first since shortstop Brandon Wikoff in 2009 (5th round). The Moline, Ill., native collected first-team All-Big Ten honors at shortstop and ended his junior season on a career-high 18-game hitting streak. He tied for second in the Big Ten with nine home runs, notching all nine of his career homers this year. The Illini leadoff hitter was 15-for-16 on stolen bases and tallied 45 runs, which tied for sixth in the Big Ten. He hit .309 with 38 RBI and slugged .493, which ranked 10th in the Big Ten. Defensively, he posted the second-most assists (178) and fifth-most double plays (45) in the conference.
"Illinois has prepared me for this moment, so I think I'm ready," Lindauer said. "My experience at Illinois has been everything I can ask for and more. I want to first and foremost thank the coaches. My college career would not have been possible without those guys giving me the chance. I really want to thank coach Snider for working with me the past three years and helping take my game to another level."
Johnson is the fifth Illini to be drafted by the Athletics and will be the first to sign with the organization since current pitching coach and former Illini Drew Dickinson in 2002 (28th round). The Midlothian, Ill., native served as Illinois' No. 1 starter for three years and set the school record for career innings pitched before being sidelined for the final month of his senior season with a forearm strain. He sits atop the all-time innings pitched list with 334 career innings and did not miss a start for his first three and half years in the rotation.
"Being drafted is what I've worked for my whole life," Johnson said. "I couldn't have asked for a better program to play for in college. The coaches have been amazing and have helped me with anything both in and out of baseball. I will be forever grateful to them for that. I couldn't have had a better college experience. Coach Dickinson has been amazing and really helped me as a pitcher. It is pretty cool that I will be going to play for the same organization he played for."
Johnson also ranks fifth in school history with 208 career strikeouts and is tied for eighth on the UI all-time list with 20 career victories. During his senior season, he posted a career-low 3.22 ERA and finished with a 6-3 record and 44 strikeouts in 67 innings. He started 11 games and tossed a pair of complete games, including one shutout in 2013. Johnson was drafted for a second time, as he was selected in the 31st round of the 2012 MLB draft by the New York Yankees but did not sign a contract.
Greer was named a junior college third-team All-American after hitting .402 with a team-leading five home runs and 38 RBI for Iowa Western Community College during his sophomore season in 2013. The Liberty, Mo., native was named a 2012 All-Region first-team selection and led Iowa Western to the 2012 NJCAA Division I World Series title as a freshman. He hit .347 with 16 doubles, eight triples, 12 home runs and 69 RBIs for the Reivers in 2012.
2013 MLB Draft - Illinois Players & Signees