Two Illinois pitchers were selected on the final day of the 2021 MLB Draft. RHP Andrew Hoffmann was selected in the 12th round, No. 367 overall by the Atlanta Braves and LHP Nathan Lavender was selected in the 14th round, No. 412 overall by the New York Mets.
Hoffmann was the leader of the Illinois pitching staff this past season. He went 3-0 with a 2.87 ERA over 62.2 innings pitched in 11 starts. An All-Big Ten third team selection, Hoffmann became only the sixth Illini pitcher since 1980 to not suffer a loss in a season with a minimum of 10 starts.
The Plainfield, Illinois, native spent only one season in an Illini uniform. He began his career in 2019 at Division I Oakland before transferring to John A. Logan Community College in 2020.
Lavender also had a strong year on the mound for the Illini in 2021. After missing the 2020 season with an injury, Lavender finished the year 7-2 with a 4.11 ERA over 57.0 innings pitched in 13 appearances with nine starts. Lavender came out of the bullpen at the beginning of the season before transitioning to a starting role.
He led the conference in strikeout to walk ratio with 79 strikeouts to only 15 walks (5.27). His seven victories were also tied for the most in the Big Ten. Lavender began the season with a 5-0 record to become the first Illini pitcher to do so since RHP John Kravetz in 2015.
An Academic All-Big Ten selection in 2021, Lavender spent three years in the Illinois program.
For the first time in 28 years, the Bradley baseball team had two selections in the top 10 rounds of the Major League Baseball Draft. Left-handed pitcher Brooks Gosswein (Barrington, Ill.) was selected in the fourth round (124 overall) by the Chicago White Sox before right-handed pitcher Theron Denlinger (Cuba City, Wis.) followed his teammate to the White Sox in the seventh round (215 overall).
Gosswein is Bradley's highest draft pick in 15 years as Brandon Magee was selected 120th overall in 2006 by the Toronto Blue Jays. Overall, it marks the first time since 1993 that Bradley has featured two selections in the first 10 rounds of the draft (Bryan Rekar and Joel Moore were selected in the second and third round, respectively, by the Rockies).
A four-year standout with the Braves, Gosswein appeared in 49 games during his collegiate career, totaling 11 wins on the mound and striking out 139 batters in 167.1 innings. During the 2021 campaign, Gosswein led the Braves with 53 strikeouts, while ranking second on the team with 52.2 innings pitched and was just one off the team leader in wins with four.
Gosswein was named the Missouri Valley Conference Pitcher of the Week on March 1 after pitching seven innings of shutout ball and just two hits allowed against Ball State.
A two-time All-Missouri Valley Conference honoree, Denlinger appeared in 42 games as a reliever during his career. He ranks third in school history with 13 career saves, striking out 48 batters in 44 innings of work.
During the 2021 campaign, Denlinger ranked second in the Missouri Valley Conference with six saves, while striking out 21 players in 17.2 innings.
Illinois State left-handed ace pitcher Colton Johnson was slected in the 16th round by the Oakland A's.
Riley Martin, a senior left-handed pitcher at Quincy University, was taken by the Cubs in the sixth round.