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Pair of Hoosiers sign pro contracts

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Junior third baseman Luke Miller throws the ball to first base to get the out against Butler on Saturday, March 31. Miller signed with the Philadelphia Phillies Tuesday. Anna Tiplick Buy Photos

A little less than a week after being selected in the 2018 MLB Draft, a pair of Hoosiers have elected to sign with their respective organizations and become professionals.

On Monday, junior right-handed pitcher Jonathan Stiever put pen to paper with the Chicago White Sox, reportedly receiving the full $386,800 signing bonus projected for his draft slot at 138th overall. 

On Tuesday, reported junior infielder Luke Miller, among a handful of other draft picks, had signed with the Philadelphia Phillies.

In 16 appearances on the mound for IU in 2018, Stiever pitched to a 5-6 record and a 3.41 ERA. In just over 100 innings, Stiever struck out 97 batters, leading the Big Ten Conference, and gave up 38 earned runs. 

These numbers led to Stiever being named first team All-Big Ten.

The loss of their ace will shake things up for the Hoosiers in 2019. Once again, they will have to find a Sunday starter, as returning Saturday starter and senior-to-be Pauly Milto should take over Stiever’s role on Friday nights. If Cleveland Indians draft selection and IU junior Tim Herrin elects to return to Bloomington, he should move up from the Sunday role to pitch on Saturdays. 

Miller missed significant time with a foot injury in 2018, but was a constant contributor when he was in the lineup. The slugger hit .309, racking up 13 home runs and driving in 34 runs in the middle of the Hoosier lineup. 

He impressed during the postseason, being unanimously selected to the Austin All-Regional Team after going 8-for-16 at the plate, hitting a pair of home runs and driving in four runs during IU’s four games in Austin. The Muncie, Indiana, native was also named third team All-Big Ten following the regular season.

With Miller on his way out, the door is open for a number of Hoosiers to potentially replace him at third base. The freshman trio of Drew Ashley, Cole Barr and Justin Walker split time at second base in 2018, each displaying potential with impressive runs, and each of them can play third base. 

The pair of players join Logan Sowers as 2018 IU draftees going pro, leaving just one draftee unsigned — Herrin. The left-handed pitcher will have plenty of time to decide whether to turn pro or return to IU for his senior year, as the Indians will retain his rights until August 15.

Auston Matricardi

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