Howard Goes in Round 1 on Historic Night for UVA

By the time the first 40 players had been selected at the Major League Baseball draft on Thursday night, Virginia baseball history had already been made.

The Cavaliers had three players -- closer Nick Howard, outfielder Derek Fisher, and infielder/outfielder Mike Papi -- taken on the first night of the MLB draft. It's the first time in program history the Cavaliers have had three players picked in the first two rounds of the draft.

Howard went first, at No. 19 overall in the first round to the Cincinnati Reds. Howard is the fifth UVa player all-time to be selected in Round 1, and the first since Seattle took Danny Hultzen No. 2 overall in 2011.

Howard is 2-1 with a 2.15 ERA and an ACC-best 19 saves for the Cavaliers this season. Howard moved into the closer role for UVa this season after spending most of last year in the team's starting rotation.

Howard joins Brian Buchanan (1994), Seth Greisinger (1996), Ryan Zimmerman (2004), and Hultzen as UVa players to go in Round 1 of the MLB draft. Sean Doolittle was taken by the Oakland Athletics in the supplemental first round of the 2007 draft.

Fisher and Papi were taken with back-to-back picks in Competitive Balance Round A, selections No. 37 and No. 38 overall. Fisher was taken by the Houston Astros, followed by Papi to the Cleveland Indians.

They're the highest-drafted UVa position players since Zimmerman went fourth overall to the Washington Nationals a decade ago.

Coming out of high school, Fisher was taken by the Texas Rangers in Round 6 of the 2011 draft, but turned down big money to come to Charlottesville. He's hitting .288 with 23 RBI this season, after missing 25 games with a wrist injury.

Fisher's draft status was boosted by his pro potential, while Papi's was built largely on his college production. Papi's .388 average led the ACC in 2013, and his 11 homers are tied for most in the league this season.


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