Four Cougars selected in MLB Draft; ties highest 20-round total in BYU history
LOS ANGELES — Four members of the BYU baseball team were selected in the 2022 Major League Baseball draft held at Xbox Plaza in Los Angeles, July 17-19.
Four picks in the first 20 rounds of the MLB Draft matches the highest total in BYU history, tying the 2002, 1986, 1983, 1982 and 1979 Cougar squads who also had four.
BYU second baseman Andrew Pintar was the first Cougar selected in the fifth-round by the Arizona Diamondbacks with the 138th overall pick. He was followed by lefthanded pitcher Cy Nielson who went in the eighth round Monday to the Pittsburgh Pirates as the 230th player taken.
Righthanded pitcher Nate Dahle was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 13th round on Tuesday with the 404th overall pick, followed by lefty pitcher Cooper McKeehan who was taken in the 16th round with the 475th pick by the Kansas City Royals.
Pintar played just 17 games for the Cougars in 2022 due an injury that sidelined him early in the year. In 2021, he was named to the Collegiate Baseball News Freshman All-American team and was the West Coast Conference Co-Freshman of the Year. Pintar was also one of just 13 players selected to the 2021 All-WCC First Team.
During his freshman season for the Cougars, the Spanish Fork, Utah native finished top 10 in WCC play in 10 offensive categories, including first in total bases (72); second in hits (38), home runs (9) and slugging percentage (.686), third in batting average (.362), RBI (23) and triples (3). He was named WCC Player of the Week and Collegiate Baseball News National Player of the Week on May 10.
Pintar is the first Cougar to be selected in the first five rounds of the MLB Draft since Jacob Hannemann went in round three to the Chicago Cubs in 2013. He is the third BYU baseball player to be selected by the Diamondbacks, following Adam Miller (2013) and Chris Capper (2012).
Nielson appeared in 28 games out of the bullpen for BYU as a sophomore in 2022. The 6-3, 210-pound lefty from the Spanish Fork, Utah, finished the year with a record of 3-0 and a 3.21 ERA. Nielson struck out 45 batters over 33.2 innings and held opposing hitters to a .222 average. He was named 2022 All-West Coast Conference Honorable Mention and was on the WCC Commissioner’s Bronze Honor Roll for academic excellence in 2021.
Nielson is just the second Cougar to be selected by the Pirates. The other was former BYU player and head coach Vance Law, who was taken in the 1978 MLB Draft by Pittsburg and went on to play 11 MLB seasons. Nielson was previously selected in the 40th round by Cleveland in the 2019 MLB Draft.
Dahle appeared in 25 games with four starts for BYU in 2022 with a 2-4 record and two saves. The 6-6, 235-pound junior from Tremonton, Utah finished the year with a 2.74 ERA and was second on the team in strikeouts with 61 in 42.2 innings.
At the conclusion of the 2022 season, Dahle was named to the 13-member All-WCC Second Team. He is the first Cougar ever to be selected by Tampa Bay.
McKeehan finished the 2022 season with a 2-1 record and a 1.57 ERA. The 6-1, 195-pound sophomore from Matthews, North Carolina, appeared in 23 games striking out 41 batters in 23.0 innings. He held opposing hitters to a team best .160 batting average.
Following the 2022 season, McKeenhan was named Second Team All-WCC. He was also named to the WCC Commissioner’s Honor Roll for academic excellence in 2021 and 2022.
McKeehan is the third Cougar to be selected by the Royals in the MLB Draft, following Dave Jensen (2002) and Cliff Pastornicky (1980).