Illinois senior catcher Jason Goldstein was selected Friday by the Seattle Mariners in the ninth round (No. 267 overall) of the 2016 MLB Draft. It is the second straight year Goldstein has been drafted after being taken in the 17th round of last year's draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Goldstein is Illinois' fifth top-10 round pick in the last two years, joining Tyler Jay (1), Cody Sedlock (1), Kevin Duchene (5) and David Kerian (9). It is the Illini's most top-10 round picks in a two-year span in program history.
Goldstein led the Illini in batting average (.312), on-base percentage (.402) and RBIs (29) in 2016.
Illinois senior relievers Nick Blackburn and J.D. Nielsen were selected Saturday on the third and final day of the 2016 MLB Draft.
Blackburn was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 16th round (No. 479 overall) Saturday in the 2016 MLB Draft. It is the second straight year Blackburn has been drafted, after he elected to return to school following a 22nd round selection by the New York Mets last year.
Blackburn, who features a fastball that sits in the low to mid-90's, saved 11 games in 2016, the third most in a single-season in Illinois history. He went 1-3 with a 3.73 ERA in 31 1/3 innings over 24 appearances in 2016 after going 3-0 with a 2.22 ERA in 21 1/3 innings in 2015.
Blackburn's 72 career appearances are the fifth-most in program history.
Nielsen was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels in the 34th round (No. 1026 overall) of the 2016 MLB Draft. It is the first time the 6-6 reliever has been drafted.
Nielsen projects as a tough lefty-lefty matchup at the next level thanks to his sidearm delivery that is rarely seen from a left-hander with his size. Nielsen was second on the Illini in saves in 2016 with six and led the team with 29 appearances. He also picked up five wins in relief, good for tied for second on the team.
The Winterset, Iowa, native was one of the most used relievers in Fighting Illini history during his four-year career.
Cody Sedlock was a 1st round selection at No. 27 overall by the Baltimore Orioles Thursday night.
Illinois tied for third in the Big Ten with four draft picks. Only Ohio State (6) and Michigan (5) had more than the Fighting Illini.