Seattle Mariners select George Kirby in first round of MLB draft

Kirby, a Rye, N.Y., native and 2019 CAA Pitcher of the Year, was selected 20th overall and becomes the first Phoenix to be selected in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft. 

With the 20th pick in the first round of the 2019 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, the Seattle Mariners selected Elon University baseball's George Kirby. The Rye, N.Y. native becomes the first Phoenix to be taken in the first round.

"Once I heard my name called, I was really excited for me and my family and my teammates," said Kirby. "I'm ready to pitch against the best guys and this is something that I've been working for for a while. I'm just really excited to get the opportunity."

The 2019 CAA Pitcher of the Year, Kirby posted an 8-2 record with a 2.75 ERA in 14 starts this season. He tossed three complete games and struck out 107 batters across 88.1 innings pitched. With only six walks issued, he finished his junior campaign as the national leader in both strikeout-to-walk ratio (17.83) and walks allowed per nine innings (0.61). As of May 26, he also ranked 11th in the nation in WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) at 0.89 and tied for 13th in complete games.

Additionally, the right-handed pitcher was selected to the All-CAA First Team, was a three-time conference pitcher of the week, and was named a semifinalist for the 2019 Golden Spikes Award.

Kirby finishes his time at Elon with a 3.34 ERA, a 19-8 record, and two saves in 45 appearances and 34 starts. Other career totals include 258 strikeouts with just 50 walks in 240.0 innings pitched.

With UNCW's Greg Jones chosen by the Tampa Bay Rays two picks later, this year's draft marks the first time since 2004 that the CAA has had multiple first rounders. That year, Old Dominion's Justin Verlander went second to the Detroit Tigers, William & Mary's Bill Bray was the 13th pick by the Cincinnati Reds, and VCU's Justin Orenduff was taken by the Los Angeles Dodgers with the 33rd pick.

This is the second time Kirby has been taken in the draft as the New York Mets selected him in the 32nd round of the 2016 MLB Draft. He is also the second Phoenix to be taken by Seattle in as many years and third in the last four drafts along with Ryne Ogren in the 12th round in 2018 and Nick Zammarelli in the eighth round in 2016. The maroon and gold also saw Steven Hensley and Donny Jobe go to Seattle in the fourth and 44th rounds, respectively in the 2008 draft.