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Major league ballers

Three MSU baseball players to forego senior season for professional life

June 10, 2012
Junior third baseman Torsten Boss swings when up to bat on May 12. 2012 at McLane Baseball Stadium at Old College Field. The Spartans lost to the Hawkeyes 2-1. Samantha Radecki/The State News
Junior third baseman Torsten Boss swings when up to bat on May 12. 2012 at McLane Baseball Stadium at Old College Field. The Spartans lost to the Hawkeyes 2-1. Samantha Radecki/The State News —
Photo by Samantha Radecki | and Samantha Radecki The State News

The MSU baseball team will have a new look in the infield in 2013, as it is tasked with replacing three players who started all 60 games this season.

All three juniors chosen in last week’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft — third baseman Torsten Boss, second baseman Ryan Jones and pitcher Tony Wieber — have chosen to forego their final season at MSU by signing professional contracts.

The Spartans also lose shortstop Justin Scanlon to graduation, leaving freshman first baseman Ryan Krill as the lone returning infield starter.

“We’re happy for them; I think it’s every kid’s dream to play pro baseball, and those kids got an opportunity,” head coach Jake Boss Jr. said. “They had a chance to fulfill a dream, and we’re happy to be part of that process.”

Boss, an eighth-round pick by the Baltimore Orioles, is headed to Aberdeen, Md., to play for the IronBirds — Baltimore’s Class A Short-Season affiliate. The Lowell, Mich., native earned third-team All-Big Ten honors in 2012 with a .302 batting average and a team-high 43 RBIs as the Spartans’ cleanup hitter.

Although he played the majority of the season at third base, the Orioles drafted him as an outfielder. Boss said team officials told him he could end up playing either position.

“It’s a dream come true,” he said. “It’s what I really wanted to do; it was a great opportunity for me, and I’m going to pursue it.”

The San Francisco Giants made Jones the highest-drafted second baseman in MSU history when they selected him in the 13th round. Jones, a second-team All-Big Ten performer and Haslett, Mich., native, said he got a good deal and the opportunity to play professionally was too much to pass up.

“I think I’m going to miss the atmosphere,” Jones said. “College is fun, and I mean, I was in a good spot at Michigan State. (I was) real close to the coaching staff and my teammates; I think I’ll miss that the most.”

The next stop for Jones is the Giants’ spring training facility in Scottsdale, Ariz., where he’ll go through workouts as the team decides his minor league assignment. He will either stay in Arizona for rookie ball or head to Oregon for Class A Short-Season, he said.

Wieber leaves MSU to join the San Diego Padres organization after they drafted him in the 33rd round. The right-handed reliever from Grand Ledge, Mich., racked up nine saves with a 2.22 ERA in 25 appearances in 2012.

“We know they’re going to represent us well in pro ball,” Jake Boss Jr. said. “When you’ve got good players, they’re going to have opportunities.”

Senior pitcher Tony Bucciferro, a 14th-round pick of the Chicago White Sox, inked his deal last week. Two incoming MSU recruits also were drafted, Holt High School pitcher Justin Alleman and outfielder Cam Gibson of Grosse Point South High School. They have until July 13 to decide whether to sign with their team or head to MSU.

While the early departures leave some big holes in the lineup for MSU next season, they were not unexpected, Jake Boss Jr. said. He wasn’t surprised any of the juniors signed their contracts
because teams don’t usually offer as much signing bonus money to seniors, he said.

The players leave MSU after contributing to one of the best periods in program history with three consecutive 30-win seasons and the first Big Ten championship and NCAA Tournament berth since 1979 on their résumé.

“We’d love to have all of them back, obviously, but at the same time, we understand the process and how it all works, and we wish them well,” Jake Boss Jr. said.

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