June 9, 2011
VILLANOVA, Pa. - For the second straight season Villanova reliever Mike Francisco (Newtown Square, Pa.) had his name called during the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. Francisco was chosen in the 48th round of the 2011 draft on Wednesday by the Milwaukee Brewers, becoming the first player ever from Villanova to be selected by the Brewers organization.
"Mike is only the seventh player from Villanova to be selected twice in the draft and he is the first from our program taken by the Brewers," Villanova head coach Joe Godri said. "I am extremely happy for Mike. He has a power arm and, with velocity in the 88-92 range and an imposing frame at 6-foot-4, there is no question that he can be successful at the next level."
Francisco was the Wildcats top reliever for the last three seasons and graduated last month as the program's all-time leader in appearances and saves. He was also drafted last season by the Philadelphia Phillies and chose to return to school and complete his degree in Marketing from the Villanova School of Business.
As a senior this year Francisco pitched in 25 games out of the bullpen for the second straight season for Villanova, racking up nine saves while holding opponents to a career low .229 batting average against him. Francisco logged 30.0 innings pitched and allowed only 25 hits while striking out 35. His nine saves in 2011 match the second-highest single-season total in the history of the program and his 20 career saves are a Wildcats record.
For his collegiate career Francisco pitched in a school-record 82 games and added five wins to his save total while pitching exactly 100.0 career innings. Francisco is one of the very few relievers in school history with over 100 career strikeouts, as he finished with 105 to just 95 hits allowed (.253 opponent batting average).
"Mike projects as a setup man or a closer at the professional level," Godri said. "The great thing for Mike is that he now has an opportunity to develop his secondary pitches as a pro. He worked on those pitches in practice at Villanova but the nature of being a closer is that when you get into the game you have to stick to your strength. Mike's strength is working his fastball to both sides of the plate."
This year marked the eighth time in the last 10 MLB drafts that Villanova had multiple players selected. Yesterday in the fourth round of the First-Year Player Draft right-handed pitcher Kyle McMyne was chosen by the Cincinnati Reds. The Wildcats have had a top-five round draft pick in each of the last two drafts and five times overall since 2000.
Since the inception of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft in 1965, the Villanova program has had 54 players drafted a total of 62 times, 34 of those 62 picks being used on pitchers.