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Four Spartans selected in 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft

June 6, 2012
Senior right hand pitcher Tony Bucciferro delivers a pitch on May 11, 2012 at McLane Baseball Stadium at Old College Field during a game against Iowa. Justin Wan/The State News
Senior right hand pitcher Tony Bucciferro delivers a pitch on May 11, 2012 at McLane Baseball Stadium at Old College Field during a game against Iowa. Justin Wan/The State News —
Photo by Justin Wan | and Justin Wan The State News

Less than a week after MSU’s baseball season concluded in the NCAA Tournament, four Spartans earned the opportunity to play at the highest level by being selected in this week’s 2012 Major League Baseball, or MLB, First-Year Player Draft.

MSU had three players drafted in the first 15 rounds for the first time since 1987.

First off the board Tuesday was junior third baseman Torsten Boss, selected in the eighth round with the No. 252 overall pick by the Baltimore Orioles as an outfielder. Boss led MSU in runs batted in with 43, while hitting .302 on the year with five homers.

Boss earned first-team All-Big Ten honors last season and was a third-team selection in 2012. A product of Lowell, Mich., he became the highest-drafted Spartan since 2002, when the New York Mets selected outfielder Bob Malek in the fourth round.

“He’s very versatile ­— he can play a lot of different places on the field,” head coach Jake Boss Jr. said in a release to the MSU athletics department. “He swings it from the left-hand side of the plate and can hit for some power. Torsten is a very talented young man who loves to play the game.”

Junior Ryan Jones became the highest-drafted second baseman in MSU history when he was chosen No. 418 overall on Tuesday by the San Francisco Giants in the 13th round.

A second-team All-Big Ten performer in 2012, Jones topped the conference in hits with 92. He also led the Spartans in doubles, runs scored and finished with the second best batting average at .352.

“I worked my whole life just to get to (Tuesday), and when my name was called, I was just so excited,” Jones said. “(I’m) just happy to have the opportunity from the Giants to give me a chance to keep playing and play pro ball.”

Jones said he would be in contact with the Giants in the next few days to begin deal negotiations.
“It’s just going to come down to if it’s the best possible thing for me and my family at this time,” he said on his decision to sign or return to school.

The last MSU player to hear his name called Tuesday was senior pitcher Tony Bucciferro. The right-hander was drafted in the 14th round, No. 441 overall, by the Chicago White Sox.

Bucciferro, a Joliet, Ill., native was excited to find out he would be playing for a team from his home state.

“It was a rollercoaster … just a long day, and it ended up working out,” said Bucciferro, adding the White Sox showed less interest than other clubs prior to draft day.

As the ace of the Spartans’ pitching staff, Bucciferro led the conference in strikeouts with 94 and innings pitched with 111.1, which includes two complete games. His ERA and opponent’s batting average also landed him in the top 10 in the conference.

Junior pitcher Tony Wieber was the only MSU player selected on Wednesday when the San Diego Padres drafted him in the 33rd round at No. 1005 overall. The right-handed Grand Ledge, Mich., native was 2-2 on the year with a 2.22 ERA as a key member of the MSU bullpen in 2012.

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