Pat Connaughton, who'll be a key player for Notre Dame's basketball team next season, was taken Friday in the fourth round of Major League's Baseball Draft by the Baltimore Orioles.
Connaughton, a right-handed pitcher, will be able to hurl for the O's for nearly two months before basketball duties tug him back for his senior season in South Bend.
This is no surprise. We passed along news last week that the 6-foot-5, 215-pound Connaughton was likely to be picked; it was a matter of where that would decide his fate. Had he gone higher, it's possible he'd have passed up his final year of college hoops, but that doesn't seem to be the case here. Taken 121st overall, he's the highest pick for a Notre Dame pitcher in six years.
"The two-sport star [basketball, baseball] is the fourth Irish baseball player in recent memory to get drafted in one sport after playing two at Notre Dame," per the school's release, "joining RHP Jeff Samardzija [football, baseball], OF Golden Tate [football, baseball] and INF Evan Sharpley [football, baseball]."
The way baseball's draft works is weird, and the way teams own rights over players doesn't line up with how basketball and football work. This in fact is the second time Connaughton's had his name called. He was picked all the way in the 38th round back in 2011 by the San Diego Padres. It's a wonder we don't hear about more multi-sport athletes getting "chosen" by baseball teams each June.
Connaughton went 3-5 record and had 3.92 ERA in 62 innings this past season. He also had 36 strikeouts. His pitching repertoire consists of a fastball, a changeup and a curve.
In hoops, Connaughton averaged 13.8 points and 7.1 board last season. It's tough to say which is his better sport, though it seems he's got a better shot long-term at baseball than basketball, but who knows. Good on him for having options.