SECAUCUS, NJ - During the third day of the 2017 MLB Draft, junior reliever Jared Finkel of the Iona College baseball program was drafted in the 23rd round by the Minnesota Twins. With the selection Finkel becomes the 26th player in program history to be selected in the draft since its inception in 1965.
Finkel reached new heights as the closer for the Gaels this past season, rewriting the program record for saves in a single season with 11. He also added a 1-0 record with a 1.41 ERA behind a .182 opponent batting average and 23 strikeouts in 32.0 innings of work. For his efforts during MAAC play, he was named the conference's Relief Pitcher of the Year.
In addition to being drafted today, Finkel was named to the 2017 ABCA/Rawlings NCAA Division I Northeast All-Region Second Team. The reliever helped the Gaels to their first MAAC Championship berth since 2000 while also advancing to the MAAC Championship Final by winning three elimination games in two days. Finkel earned two saves in the tournament including three innings in a 7-6 win against top-seeded Fairfield to advance to the final round.
Finkel becomes the first member of the Maroon & Gold to be drafted since Mariano Rivera was selected by the Washington Nationals in the fourth round of the 2015 MLB Draft. Rivera is currently playing for the Potomac Nationals of the Carolina League.
Prior to Rivera, the last Iona player drafted was former IF/OF Chris Burke in 2012. Burke was the 555th pick in the 18th round by the San Diego Padres. Prior to Burke, former catcher and assistant coach James LaSala was the 1,331th pick (44th round) by the New York Yankees in 2006.
Iona has had four players appear in a major league game, all pitchers, including current Atlanta Brave reliever Jason Motte. Motte was a member of the 2011 World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals. He recorded the final out of the series to lead the Cardinals to the title.
LHP Mike Bertotti appeared in 28 games for the Chicago White Sox from 1995-97. Kansas City Royals' Hall of Fame starter RHP Dennis Leonard is the most prolific major league performer, having appeared in 312 games and 302 starts from 1974-86. Leonard won 20 games in three seasons, 1977, 1978 and 1980 and was the first Iona performer to appear in a World Series game. Iona's first ever major leaguer was RHP Vito Valentinetti, a five-year veteran that played for five different teams from 1954-1959.
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