June 7, 2014
Watson and Kronenfeld Selected in MLB Draft
SALISBURY, NC -- Catawba College pitcher Joe Watson (Advance, NC/Davie Co. HS) and first baseman Paul Kronenfeld (Greensboro, NC/Woodberry Forest HS/Georgia Tech) were selected in the 2014 Major League Baseball Draft. Watson was a 12th round choice by the Texas Rangers, while Kronenfeld went in the 25th round to the Cincinnati Reds.
Catawba has now had 22 players selected since the MLB Draft began in 1965. Half of those have been selected since 2008 and a dozen picks have played for current coach Jim Gantt.
Watson, the 366th player selected, becomes Catawba’s highest draft pick since Brian Boltz went to the Atlanta Braves in the second round of the 1989 draft. Mike Dickens, a fourth round pick by the Reds in 1970, and Kevin Hemphill, a seventh round selection by the New York Yankees in 1978, join Boltz as the only players drafted higher than Watson.
Watson made three starts over 13 appearances this year for Catawba. He posted a 1-2 record with a 6.41 ERA. The red-shirt sophomore tossed 26 and two-thirds innings and recorded 31 strikeouts with 21 walks.
At the NCAA II Southeast Regional, Watson started against tenth-ranked Columbus State in an elimination game and allowed two runs on two hits over five and a third innings. He struck out four, but did walk seven. His best outing came against Winston-Salem State when he struck out seven of the10 batters he faced in a three-inning stint.
Watson will join former teammate Chris Dula in the Rangers organization.
Kronenfeld is the second Catawba player drafted by the Reds. He is the third player to go in the 25th round and went #755 overall. Dula was the 760th pick last year and Jerry Sands was the overall #757 selection in 2008.
Kronenfeld led Catawba with a .361 average this season, which ranked sixth in the South Atlantic Conference. He collected a league-high 21 doubles and was third in the SAC in runs scored with 54. Kronenfeld hit six home runs and drove in 43 runs.
During the year, Kronenfeld enjoyed a 20-game hitting streak which was the seventh longest in school history. After ending the streak with an 0-for-2 game with three walks on April 9 vs. USC Aiken, he would hit safely in the next seven games, which included six straight multi-hit efforts.
Kronenfeld was named an honorable mention All-SAC pick this year and was an All-SAC Tournament performer. In 2013, he earned second team All-SAC honors as an outfielder.
The duo will join four other former Catawba players currently playing with MLB Clubs. Joining Dula from last year's draft is Nick Lomascolo, who is with the St. Louis Cardinals organization. Jordan (J.J.) Jankowski is with the Houston Astros AA team in Corpus Christi and Jerry Sands is currently playing in the majors with the Tampa Bay Rays, recently being called up from AAA Durham.
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