Two Eagles picked in Major League Baseball draft

Cale Coshow and Chris Burgess
Cale Coshow and Chris Burgess

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma Christian pitchers Cale Coshow and Chris Burgess were selected during Major League Baseball’s First-Year Player Draft on Saturday, giving the program two draftees in the same year for the first time.

Coshow, a sophomore right-hander from Edmond, went in the 13th round to the New York Yankees (404th overall), while the Philadelphia Phillies took Burgess, a senior right-hander from West Chicago, Ill., in the 26th round (781st overall).

Before Saturday, only seven OC players had ever been drafted, the most recent in 2001, when the Tampa Bay Rays took Nick Aiello in the 50th round.

“This is a great day for OC baseball,” said Lonny Cobble, who just completed his first season as OC’s coach after a long run as the coach at Edmond Santa Fe High School. The Eagles went 26-26 this season, reaching the National Christian College Athletic Association World Series – the program’s first national postseason event in 41 years.

Coshow played his high school ball at Deer Creek in Edmond. The 6-foot-5, 260-pounder went 2-0 as a freshman at Oklahoma before transferring to OC. This season, he was one of the Eagles’ top starters and went 3-5 with a 4.56 ERA. In 13 appearances (all starts) he pitched 73 innings, with 69 strikeouts and 28 walks. He threw two complete games.

“I’m very excited for Cale,” Cobble said. “My first and last players at Santa Fe were drafted by the Yankees. This is really cool that my first player picked at OC is a Yankee! Cale is a hard worker and is very deserving of this. Hopefully he’s the first of many.”

According to the scouting report on Coshow on the MLB website, he “has a plus fastball that he can run up to 96 mph and also throws a curveball and a changeup, both of which could be average or better in the future.”

The scouting report notes that Coshow “was a top recruit coming out of high school and still has considerable upside. A team that thinks they can smooth out his command issues could take Coshow.”

Coshow was the first player taken from a Heartland Conference team in this year’s MLB draft.

“God works in mysterious ways,” Coshow said. “He is giving me this opportunity and I can’t wait to see what it leads to!”

Burgess, meanwhile, had a hand in 16 of Oklahoma Christian’s 26 wins this season as the Eagles’ closer.

“I’m proud of Chris. He overcame a lot, transferring in at the semester,” Cobble said. “He fit in great here and was a vocal leader. He always approached every outing in a professional-like manner.”

After spending two seasons at Black Hawk (Ill.) Junior College, Burgess was chosen in the 30th round of the 2011 draft by the Tampa Bay Rays, but chose not to sign. He spent the 2012 season at Oklahoma, making only two appearances, before transferring to OC in January to finish his college career with the Eagles.

The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Burgess immediately became a force, going 7-0 with nine saves and a 1.54 ERA for the Eagles. Burgess set OC’s single-season and career saves record, earning NCCAA All-America honors. He also was named to the Heartland Conference’s second-team honor list.

In 22 appearances – all but one in relief – he threw 41 innings, recording 52 strikeouts and 11 walks and holding opponents to a .188 batting average. He gave up only one extra-base hit all season.

“I’m extremely blessed to have this opportunity to try and take my game to the next level,” Burgess said.