VILLANOVA, Pa. - One of the top pitchers in program history became the latest Villanova draft pick on Tuesday afternoon when the Tampa Bay Rays selected left-handed pitcher Hunter Schryver in the seventh round of this year’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. Schryver was chosen with the 199th overall pick early in the seventh round of the draft. He is the 68th selection all-time from the Wildcats and the first player in program history to be drafted by the Rays.
The tradition of developing professional pitchers is well-established in the Villanova program, and Schryver fits the mold of a top college arm who is primed for success at the next level. He was a four-year member of the Wildcats weekend starting rotation and has the ability to consistently work deep into games. Schryver commands his above-average fastball on both sides of the plate and keeps hitters off-balance with an array of secondary pitches that all show late movement.
“I consider us to be very lucky to have had Hunter as part of the Villanova program for the past four years,” Wildcats head coach Kevin Mulvey said. “I am extremely happy for him being drafted by the Rays and I am excited to watch him on his journey through professional baseball. Hunter is a great baseball player, and more importantly he is a terrific student and a first-class person. We will truly miss him.”
Schryver was a first team All-BIG EAST selection each of the last two seasons and was named this year’s BIG EAST Preseason Pitcher of the Year in a vote of league head coaches prior to the start of his senior season. He made 12 starts during the 2017 campaign and limited opponents to a .213 batting average against him while striking out 91 batters in 73 2/3 innings (11.1 strikeouts/nine innings). Schryver gave up just 56 hits on the year and did not allow a home run to the 314 batters that he faced. He pitched at least six innings in nine of his 12 appearances, and had just three starts in which he allowed more than two earned runs.
In six starts against BIG EAST opponents this season, Schryver went 2-2 with a 2.04 ERA, 47 strikeouts and a .199 opponent batting average. Those numbers include a four-start stretch against Xavier, Creighton, Georgetown and Butler in which Schryver had 39 strikeouts with just 14 hits and two earned runs allowed over 27 2/3 innings (0.65 ERA, 0.94 WHIP in the four starts). He logged 15 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings in the Georgetown and Butler starts.
Schryver finished his collegiate career ranked second in school history with 249 career strikeouts, as well as sixth in innings pitched (277.1) and seventh in ERA (3.57). His 91 strikeouts this season were the most by a Villanova pitcher since 2011, while his 2.44 ERA was the lowest by a Wildcats starter since 1995.
Villanova has had four players chosen in the top 10 rounds of the MLB Draft in the last eight years. At least one Wildcats pitcher has been drafted in 14 of the last 16 years. In all, the Villanova program has had a total of 59 players drafted 68 times. Among current Wildcats playing professionally, outfielder Matt Szczur of the San Diego Padres is in his fourth season playing in the major leagues. Other current professionals are minor league pitchers Max Almonte (Cardinals), Woody Bryson (Yankees), Kyle McMyne (Reds) and Pat Young (Giants).