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Saturday, June 15
The Indiana Daily Student

sports baseball

IU's Dickerson, Monar selected in MLB Draft

Baseball vs. Morehead State

Alex Dickerson got there with his bat. 

Blake Monar can thank his left arm. 

On Tuesday afternoon, both IU baseball players heard their names called in the 2011 Major League Baseball Draft.

Sitting at home in Poway, Calif., Dickerson was watching the draft with his family when he heard the Pittsburgh Pirates select the junior with the No. 91 overall pick in the third round.

Coming off a banner year in 2010, Dickerson fought back trouble throughout his junior season but still put up All-Big Ten numbers in 2011.

The 2010 Big Ten Triple Crown winner is tied atop IU’s all-time career home run list with 47 and was a mainstay in the middle of one of the Big Ten’s best offenses
throughout his tenure in Bloomington.

“He was one of the premier offensive guys around the country,” IU coach Tracy Smith said. “For his three years on campus, he was one of the best offensive players in the Big Ten Conference.”

Smith said he was a little surprised that Dickerson fell all the way to the third round with some scouts questioning what position he will play in the major leagues.

Among the numerous transitions Dickerson will have to make at the next level he is expected to make the switch from the outfield to first base, where he played until his junior year of high school.

“I’m excited to play first,” Dickerson said. “That was my best position as a kid all the way up through high school. I moved to the outfield during my junior year to show some versatility but I’m excited about the move back there because it is my more natural position.”

As Dickerson tries to make his way through the Pirates’ farm system, he could find himself back in the Hoosier state. The Pirates’ Triple-A affiliate is the Indianapolis Indians.

Nine rounds after Dickerson’s name was called, Monar was selected by the Washington Nationals with the No. 367 overall pick.

This past spring Monar led the Hoosiers’ pitching staff with 13 starts and 61 strikeouts despite coming off only making one appearance on the mound in 2010 because of a shoulder injury. 

The Rockport, Ind. native wasted no time getting into the weekend rotation as a freshman when he pitched alongside 2009 MLB Draft Picks Eric Arnett and Matt Bashore during IU’s NCAA Tournament run.

Despite being used primarily as a starter at the collegiate level, Smith thinks Monar could be a very valuable left-handed reliever thanks to his off-speed pitches.

“Because of that breaking ball, he gives himself the flexibility as both a starter and a reliever down the road,” Smith said. “If you can’t spin a breaking ball, it’s going to be very difficult to progress and move your way through a minor league system. 

"I truly believe that he had one of the better breaking balls in the country, and I think that is what attracted Washington to him.”

Both Dickerson and Monar are expected to forego their final seasons of eligibility and sign with the Pirates and the Nationals, respectively.

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