Triton Right-Handed Pitchers Ted Stuka and Jonah Dipoto Chosen in MLB First-Year Player Draft
NEW YORK - The University of California San Diego had a pair of right-handed pitchers selected on the final day of the 2019 Major League Baseball (MLB) First-Year Player Draft on Wednesday.
Junior Ted Stuka (Newport Beach/Corona del Mar HS) was the 14th-round selection of the Detroit Tigers, at No. 412 overall. Senior right-handed pitcher Jonah Dipoto (Newport Beach/Newport Harbor HS) was then chosen in the 35th round, No. 1039 overall, by the Kansas City Royals.
Both Tritons were picked for the second time. Stuka was the Baltimore Orioles' 39th-round (No. 1165) selection as a draft-eligible sophomore last June. Dipoto was taken by the Los Angeles Angels out of high school in 2015, in the 38th round (1155 overall).
Nine Tritons have now been chosen in the MLB First-Year Player Draft since Eric Newman took over the program in 2012. Last season saw a program-record four, with Tyler Durna, Cameron Kurz and Mitch Hickey preceding Stuka. Before that, it was Kyle Goodbrand (2017), Justin Donatella (2015) and Dillon Moyer (2013).
Stuka is the Tritons' highest draft pick of the modern era, supplanting a pair of recent 15th-rounders in Durna (2018, No. 458) and Donatella (2015, No. 436). He is the highest UC San Diego affiliate since Kyle Abbott, who transferred to Long Beach State, was the California Angels' first-rounder (No. 9) three decades ago in 1989.
Dipoto has exhausted his eligibility. Stuka is fully expected to sign this time around, and forgo his final year of college baseball. Dipoto in fact already completed his UC San Diego undergraduate degree in March in political science, and is engaged to be married to former Triton softball pitcher Lauren Brown in January. Fellow Newport Beach product Stuka is an international studies-international business major who hopes to continue his schoolwork in the fall quarter after wrapping up the current professional season. Both boast a cumulative grade-point average above a 3.0.
Stuka made 15 appearances on the hill in 2019, with five starts, and earned All-California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) distinction for the first time as one of four starting pitchers on the second team. He posted a 5.10 ERA with a 5-4 record and one combined shutout on Feb. 23. That was arguably the big 6-foot-7 prospect's top performance, as he fired a career-high 7.0 frames, in relief, with nine strikeouts, scattering three singles and a pair of walks. It was one of four straight strong relief outings for Stuka of 4.2 innings or longer (4-0, 22.0 IP, 2 R, 26 K), that returned him to the Triton rotation. Sporting a formidable fastball clocked as high as 97 miles per hour, he struck out 65 on the year, second on the team, in 54.2 frames. Stuka fanned a career-high 11 over six innings in an April 26 start at Cal State Dominguez Hills.
Dipoto, the son of Seattle Mariners executive vice president and general manager Jerry Dipoto, was second on the squad with 19 appearances this past season, all but one in relief. He went 3-2 with a 4.17 ERA, two saves and one combined shutout. Dipoto struck out 27 over his 36.2 innings pitched. He leaves the program with 70 career appearances, 19 of them starts, with an 11-12 record, five saves, a 4.80 ERA and 115 strikeouts in 163.0 frames.
UC San Diego now has 22 all-time MLB draft selections in its program history. The Tritons led the CCAA for a second year in a row, producing two of the league's four total picks. Stuka was the first CCAA student-athlete off the board, and Dipoto third.
This marks just the third time that UC San Diego has had multiple names called in a single draft, and the first instance of back-to-back years with more than one. The first such edition was 2011, with star right-handed pitchers Guido Knudson and Tim Shibuya. Knudson made it all the way to the major leagues in 2015 with the Detroit Tigers, who drafted him. Shibuya advanced to the Triple-A level in 2015 in the Minnesota Twins organization, which selected him, as well as the Los Angeles Dodgers organization in 2016 and 2017. Both have since retired.
Stuka joins Knudson and Dan DiMascio (1986) as Triton draftees by the Tigers. Dipoto is the first UC San Diego prospect ever to go to the Royals.
UC San Diego went 41-16 overall in the just-concluded 2019 campaign, eclipsing 40 wins for the third straight season. The Tritons were CCAA regular-season champions for the first time since 2012, and brought home a third successive West Region title from Azusa. They went 30-10 in league play and 25-5 at home. For the second year in a row, UC San Diego was eliminated from the NCAA Championship in Cary, N.C., via back-to-back losses after a shutout victory in its opener. The Tritons were one of the last five teams left standing in Division II for the third year running.
About UC San Diego Athletics
With 30 national team championships, nearly 150 individual titles and the top student-athlete graduation rate among Division II institutions in the United States, the UC San Diego intercollegiate athletics program annually ranks as one of the most successful in the country. The Tritons sponsor 23 intercollegiate sport programs that compete on the NCAA Division I and II levels and, in summer 2020, will transition into full Division I status as a member of the Big West Conference. UC San Diego student-athletes exemplify the academic ideals of one of the world's preeminent institutions, graduating at an average rate of 91 percent. A total of 82 Tritons have earned Academic All-America honors, while 37 have earned prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships. In competition, more than 1,300 UC San Diego student-athletes have earned All-America honors.
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