June 6, 2014
VILLANOVA, Pa.--Right-handed pitcher JB Kole (Basking Ridge, N.J.) was chosen by the Milwaukee Brewers in the eighth round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on Friday evening. Kole, a 6-3 power pitcher, was the 236th overall pick in the 2014 draft and is the 66th pick from Villanova since the inception of the draft 50 years ago.
Over the past three seasons Kole has developed into a true power arm on the Wildcats pitching staff. He has averaged 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings during his collegiate career, with a total of 64 strikeouts in 70 1/3 innings pitched. Kole's arsenal includes a fastball that regularly reaches the mid-90's and features plenty of late movement. He also throws a sharp slider and has demonstrated success in both the starting rotation and in the late innings out of the bullpen in his time on the Villanova staff.
As a junior this season Kole tied for the team lead with four victories and made 13 appearances for the Wildcats, including six starts and seven relief outings. He finished the year with a 4-3 record and a 5.12 ERA while pitching 38 2/3 innings and averaging 8.4 strikeouts per nine innings. Kole struck out 36 while allowing 40 hits and 22 walks. Opposing batters hit .267 against him and he surrendered just one home run to 185 batters faced.
Kole was dominant on the mound for the final six weeks of the 2014 campaign and combined to allow just three earned runs over 21 1/3 innings in six appearances from April 8 through the end of the season. In that stretch of games he went 3-0 with a 1.27 ERA and had 22 strikeouts compared to just 11 hits and six walks over 21 1/3 innings. Kole held opposing batters to a .153 average against him in those six outings and finished the year with back-to-back terrific starts against Manhattan and Butler. In his three seasons of collegiate ball Kole has a 5-5 record and two saves in 37 appearances, including eight starts.
The selection of Kole gives Villanova at least one pitcher chosen in the First-Year Player Draft in 12 of the past 13 seasons since head coach Joe Godri took over the reins of the program. Godri has seen 23 draft picks during his tenure, including 17 pitchers and five players selected within the first 10 rounds of the draft.
Kole is the highest draft pick for the Wildcats since another right-handed power pitcher, Kyle McMyne, was chosen in the fourth round of the 2011 draft by the Cincinnati Reds. Kole is also the second Villanova player ever drafted by the Brewers, joining left-handed pitcher and 2011 48th rounder Mike Francisco.
Since the inception of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft in 1965, the Wildcats have had 57 players drafted a total of 66 times. Villanova has produced 55 players that reached the major leagues and the program currently has five players active in the minor league ranks. The list of active minor leaguers includes outfielder Matt Szczur (Triple-A, Chicago Cubs) and a trio of pitchers in McMyne (Advanced Class A, Cincinnati Reds), left-hander Kyle Helisek (Advanced Class A, St. Louis Cardinals) and right-hander Pat Young (Advanced Class A, San Francisco Giants). In addition, shortstop Tyler Sciacca is playing for the Schaumburg Boomers of the independent Frontier League.