Former Baseball Players Prepare For Draft

ORLANDO – Several former UCF baseball players are hoping to hear their name called Tuesday in the Major League Baseball Draft. This year's draft, referred to as the 2003 First-Year Player Draft by Major League Baseball, will get underway at 1 p.m. Tuesday afternoon and will conclude after the 50th round is completed on Wednesday.

UCF currently has 16 former players active in professional baseball, including Mike Maroth of the Detroit Tigers. Last season, eight UCF players were drafted or signed a contract with a Major League Baseball team. Since 2000, 17 Golden Knights have reached deals with professional teams.

Three former Golden Knights are ranked in Baseball America's Top Prospect List for the state of Florida. Senior right-handed pitcher Mark Michael leads the way as he was tabbed the No. 56 prospect in the state, which includes both collegiate and high school players.

Michael ended the 2003 season as UCF's ace, finishing 7-6 with a team-best 3.13 ERA. In 14 starts, Michael fanned 71 batters in 83.1 innings of work. The tough-luck pitcher on the staff, UCF averaged just 3.42 runs every time Michael started a game. He lost four games in which he yielded just one earned run. For his career, Michael was 14-10 with a 3.54 ERA in 30 appearances, all starts, for the Golden Knights. He totaled 162 strikeouts in 172.2 career innings.

Von David Stertzbach is listed as the 63rd-best prospect in the state according to Baseball America. One of the all-time greats at UCF, Stertzbach finished his career ranked among the school's all-time leaders in strikeouts (231/6th) and appearances (80/2nd). In 2003, Stertzbach split time between the starting rotation and the bullpen, ending his season with a 4-5 record including a 4.43 ERA. In four years at UCF, Stertzbach was 12-6 with a 4.02 ERA in 214.2 innings pitched.

Ryan Bear is listed as the 68th-best prospect in Florida by Baseball America. The 2003 Verizon Academic All-America first team selection and first team A-Sun pick had a spectacular season for the Golden Knights. The Panama City native hit .390 with 20 doubles, five triples, five home runs and 36 RBI in 56 games. The senior was the only UCF player to start every game this season and also led UCF with a 19-game hitting streak.

For the first time, MLB Advanced Media, LP will provide live video coverage of the first several rounds of the draft on the official web site of Major League Baseball, MLB.com. The free video show will have MLB.TV reporter Erica Herskowitz serve as host. MLB.com radio host Brian McRae and MLB.com reporter Jonathan Mayo will also be live from draft headquarters at 245 Park Ave. in New York City.



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