coutesy Illini athletics

Orioles draft Illini pitcher Cody Sedlock in 1st round

An Illini pitcher goes in the first round of the MLB Draft for the second straight year

Illinois baseball had just one first-round selection over the span of the first 50 MLB amateur drafts: John Ericks, 22nd overall to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1988.

The Illini's batting average is quickly improving, though, as they've now gone 2-for-2 the last two years.

A year after bullpen mate Tyler Jay went No. 6 overall to the Minnesota Twins, Illini junior pitcher Cody Sedlock was drafted No. 27 overall by the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday.

"First of all, it's a credit to those two players as individuals," Illini pitching coach Drew Dickinson said. "To be around them on a daily basis, they both get after it in the weight room and stuff like that. They've earned everything they got coming to them."

After pitching out of the bullpen his first two seasons, Sedlock -- a Sherard, Ill., native -- earned Big Ten Pitcher of the Year and First Team All-America honors (Baseball America) as the Illini's ace. Sedlock went 5-3 this spring with a 2.49 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 116 strikeouts over 101.1 innings. The No. 27 pick has a slot value of $2,097,200.

"The Orioles are getting an outstanding young man in Cody Sedlock," Illinois coach Dan Hartleb said in a statement. "Cody's work, on and off the field, have made him deserving of a first-round pick. It has been impressive to watch his development on the mound and in the weight room over the past three years; he's a great competitor. I really respect him as a person and for what he did for our program."

What's in Sedlock's first-round arsenal?

"You're going to see a low- to mid-90s two-seam fastball," Dickinson said. "His four-seem fastball would be mid- to  high-90s, but more times than not he's really switched over just to the two-seam fastball that  has a lot of life, a lot of running sink on it. But it's the two breaking balls, the slider and the curveball, that give both the righthanders and lefthanders fits. His curveball is a plus curveball, legit head-to-toe curveball. And his slider being a 84 mph, 86 mph is a big-league slider and it's tough to hit."

For Dickinson, Sedlock and Jay should give him more ammo to sell to big arms on the recruiting trail.

"It's really important to me," Dickinson said. "The pitching at Illinois is starting to change the way I want it to be. To have two first-round picks in a row, I think it shows that, 'Hey, you can come to school here at Illinois -- the north, if you want to call it that -- as an arm and you can develop into a first-round pick. It's shown two years in a row that guys can develop into that. Hopefully, it will help keep more guys around here and wanting to stay and work with the Illini."

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