Friday, September 24, 2021

Mason Erla selected by Los Angeles Angels in MLB Draft

July 15, 2021
<p>Then-redshirt junior pitcher Mason Erla (30) warms up with catcher Gabe Sotres before the fourth inning. The Spartans excelled against the Nittany Lions and won 7-4 at McLane Baseball Field on April 9, 2021.</p>

Then-redshirt junior pitcher Mason Erla (30) warms up with catcher Gabe Sotres before the fourth inning. The Spartans excelled against the Nittany Lions and won 7-4 at McLane Baseball Field on April 9, 2021.

Photo by Lauren DeMay | The State News

Michigan State junior pitcher Mason Erla was selected by the Los Angeles Angels in the 17th round of the MLB draft.

Erla is the first MSU player to be drafted since 2019 and Michigan State’s 35th draft pick under current coach Jake Boss Jr. 

“Obviously, it was a surreal feeling,” Erla said in a press conference this morning. “Every youngster growing up playing baseball, that's what they want to do is to hopefully get drafted one day. So obviously it was a super exciting time, a very special moment that I'll never forget for the rest of my life.”

Erla said that he knew beforehand that it was possible that the Angels would select him. 

“I was just texting back and forth with my advisor. He said, 'Hey, they might take you here.' Sure enough, they did,” Erla said.

Although Erla and his advisor were expecting the big news, Erla's mother and parents were not aware. Erla said he was trying to keep it a surprise for them so they could see it on the television.

"Me and my wife were sitting at the table kind of giggling back and forth because my parents actually thought a different team was gonna take me and then it kinda popped up on 'em unexpectedly,” Erla said.

Erla plans to forego his final year of eligibility and pursue his professional career. 

The Michigan State ace was one of the top starting pitchers in the Big Ten this season, throwing for 80 strikeouts in 79.2 total innings pitched. Erla finished the season with five wins in 13 starts and had a 3.50 ERA. 

His best performance of the year came on March 20 against Illinois. Erla threw seven shutout innings and struck out eight batters while only allowing four hits.

“We've talked about it in the past with Mason," MSU baseball coach Jake Boss Jr. said. "He's a small-town kid with big dreams and he's starting to realize some of those dreams. I think it's awesome. He's worked his tail off and he deserves the opportunity. I'm glad he's going to have it. I thought he should have gotten it a year ago.”

Erla was named a second-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball in the abbreviated 2020 season after throwing 42 strikeouts and having an unthinkably low 1.04 ERA through four starts. 

The right-handed pitcher was known for his strikeout ability, finishing third all-time in total strikeouts at MSU with 243 in his career, which included the shortened 2020 season. He finished 33 strikeouts behind Bryan Gale's 277 strikeout record and would have had a good chance at breaking it if the 2020 season was played entirely. 

“He's a horse and physically ready for that type of extended season into the summer and into the fall,” Boss Jr. said. “I think the world of him as a kid, and again, really happy for him.”


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