Editor’s Note: The following is republished with permission from Cornell Big Red. It was NOT written by the Ithaca Voice.

ITHACA, N.Y. — Pitcher Brian McAfee ’15 was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2016 Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft earlier this month. McAfee was a two-time All-Ivy League selection for Cornell, helping the team win the Ivy League championship during his freshman season in 2012.

McAfee had an incredible bounceback season as a senior in 2015 after missing nearly all of his junior season with an injury. He was the Big Red’s ace, starting nine games and leading the team with a 5-2 record, 1.77 earned-run average, four complete games, two shutout and 38 strikeouts.

Through 56 innings of work, he issued just six walks to cement himself as the program’s all-time leader in fewest walks allowed per nine innings (1.14). He ranked in the top 20 nationally in three different categories — walks allowed per nine innings (0.96), WHIP (0.88) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (6.33).

Opponents hit a paltry .210 against him this season en route to All-Ivy League first team honors and a CoSIDA Academic All-District selection. He was also a second-team All-Ivy pick during his freshman season, where he went undefated through the regular season and earned a start in the NCAA Regionals against East Carolina.
Two of McAfee’s starts in 2015 earned him Ivy League Pitcher of the Week honors. The first came after he held Virginia — then undefeated and the nation’s No. 1 team — scoreless over seven innings on March 1.

That start essentially began to turn heads in the scouting community, though McAfee put off opportunities in professional baseball to pursue graduate school at Duke. Granted an additional year of eligibility by the NCAA, McAfee made 14 starts this season with the Blue Devils with a 7-5 record and 4.11 ERA.

He led the team in innings pitched (92.0) and strikeouts (65), and his seven victories were tied for the team lead with Kellen Urbon ’15 — another Cornell alumnus.

The Rays took McAfee in the 38th round of the draft with the 1,140th overall selection. He becomes the second Big Red pitcher to be selected in the MLB draft over the last three years after Brent Jones was picked up in the fourth round by the Arizona Diamondbacks after his junior season in 2014.

Michael Smith

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at msmith@ithacavoice.com, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.