PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - University of California San Diego pitcher Mitch Hickey has signed a professional contract with the New York Mets of Major League Baseball (MLB).
Hickey, a right-hander from Morgan Hill (Live Oak HS) in Northern California, was the Mets' 28th-round selection (No. 830) during the 2018 MLB First-Year Player Draft on June 6. He was a one-year transfer for the Tritons after spending his first three seasons at powerhouse and 2018 Division I national champion Oregon State.
"It has been awesome to continue my career, and the Mets have been great," said Hickey via email from Tennessee.
Hickey signed his contract at the Mets' Spring Training facility in Port St. Lucie, Fla., on June 14. He was later assigned to the Kingsport (Tenn.) Mets, the club's Rookie affiliate in the Appalachian League. He made his professional debut on June 29 at home against the Johnson City Cardinals, tossing a scoreless eighth with a walk, first career strikeout (looking) and single sandwiched in between a pair of 4-3 groundouts. He threw a scoreless eighth again on July 5, inducing a 5-4-3 double play and then getting a swinging strikeout after a leadoff infield single.
Hickey took the ball from head coach Eric Newman for the 2018 season opener, California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) opener, CCAA Championship opener, NCAA West Regional opener, and NCAA Championship opener, all but one of them Triton victories. UC San Diego finished 10-3 in Hickey starts, including wins in each of the last seven after working his way back into the rotation. He picked up the decision himself in five of those contests down the stretch, providing at least 5.0 frames in six of them. Early control issues had led to back-to-back relief outings, which both turned out to be effective four-inning stints (6 H, R, 0 BB, 10 SO) on March 31 and April 9, with a save in the former, to earn him a return opportunity.
The first-ever Triton drafted by the Mets, Hickey picked up All-CCAA honorable mention at the end of the regular season. In the NCAA tournament, Hickey won both of his starts, compiling 12.0 innings tossed with 18 strikeouts against three walks. That included a career-high 12 against city rival Point Loma at the regional on May 17.
Hickey lowered his ERA in each of his final nine appearances, beginning with that brief period in relief, from a season-worst 6.03 to 3.54. He finished 7-3 with the one save, 13 starts among 15 appearances, 76.1 innings, 83 strikeouts and 42 walks.
Hickey helped guide UC San Diego to a 43-17 overall record, a record seventh CCAA Championship banner, and a second successive West Region title in his lone season.
Fortunate to have Mitch Hickey (7-3, 3.54, 83 K, 76.1 IP) for his final college season, from Oregon State. #Tritons won his last 7 starts after return to rotation, including all 3 in postseason, when he struck out 20. #UCSanDiego was 10-3 in his starts overall. 👏🔱⚾️ #MLBDraft pic.twitter.com/tZABFfjOtj— UCSD Triton Baseball (@UCSDbsb) June 6, 2018