June 5, 2000
PULLMAN, Wash. - To close out the first day of the 2000 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft, two more Washington State Cougar baseball players were selected and join third-rounder Jason Grove as Cougars who will enter the professional ranks this summer.
Todd Meldahl and Matt O'Brien, both left-handed pitchers for the Cougars in 2000, were selected late during the first day of the draft held in New York City. Meldahl was selected in the 15th round (445 overall) by the Philadelphia Phillies. O'Brien was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 18th round (540 overall).
Meldahl, who was also selected out of high school in 1996 by the New York Mets, capped a fine Cougar career in which he finished with 51 starts (second most at WSU) and appeared in 65 games. Meldahl never missed a week of pitching during his Cougar career and was a hard-luck pitcher during his career with a 11-27 record. His senior season had several highlights, including his first nine-inning complete game against Oregon State in his last start as a Cougar. In that game he allowed only three earned runs and struck out five despite absorbing the loss. Meldahl is expected to start his professional career with the Batavia Muckdogs in the New York-Penn League (Single-A).
"It was quiet a nerve-racking day waiting for that phone to ring and wasn't sure if it was going to ring at all," said Meldahl from his home in Butte, Mont. "I was out doing yardwork with my mother to try to keep my mind off the draft when the phone rang and I just couldn't be any happier. It is a very exciting time and I am looking forward to playing at the next level."
O'Brien was picked up by the A's after posting an impressive 10-5 record during his senior campaign. He finished the season ranked seventh in the Pac-10 with a 3.94 ERA and became the first Cougar to post 10 wins since Kyle Kawabata went 11-3 in 1995. After starting the year as a reliever, O'Brien finished the season with both roles under his belt. A 7-1 pitcher out of the bullpen, the senior lefty notched two wins against the Oregon State Beavers in his last weekend in a Cougar uniform.
"It has been a great day to see my dream of playing professional baseball come true," O'Brien said from his home in Seattle. "I didn't find out tell my dad called me from work and said he saw it on the internet, but I couldn't be more excited. This is a dream come true for me."
O'Brien, a 1996 graduate of Seattle Prep High School, said he is expected to start his professional career just up I-5 with Vancouver (British Columbia) in the Single-A Northwest League.
O'Brien and Meldahl join Grove, a third round selection earlier in the day by the New York Yankees, and Ray Hattenburg who signed a free agent contract with the Kansas City Royals last week, who be the newest Cougars in professional baseball this summer. Shawn Stevenson, the Cougars starting shortstop for four years, and pitcher Reggie Rivard have a shot at going in the draft sometime during the second day. Stay tuned to www.wsucougars.com to follow the 2000 MLB Draft.
Career statistics for: Todd MeldahlCopy by Jeff R. Evans
Year ERA W-L APP GS CG SHO/CBO SV IP H R ER BB SO 1997.... 8.36 2-5 17 8 0 0/0 0 61.1 91 68 57 35 45 1998.... 7.29 4-6 13 12 2 0/0 0 66.2 92 71 54 36 59 1999.... 6.54 3-7 16 15 0 0/1 0 95.0 115 78 69 41 64 2000.... 6.88 2-9 18 16 2 0/0 1 87.2 107 77 67 53 76 TOTALS.. 7.16 11-27 64 51 4 0/1 1 310.2 405 294 247 165 244
Career statistics for: Matt O'Brien
Year ERA W-L APP GS CG SHO/CBO SV IP H R ER BB SO 1999.... 7.76 6-5 26 0 0 0/0 0 31.1 38 30 27 18 23 2000.... 3.94 10-5 23 7 3 0/0 3 93.2 115 48 41 18 63 TOTALS.. 4.90 16-10 49 7 3 0/0 3 125.0 153 78 68 36 86
WSU Sports Information Alumni