Faith Lutheran High graduate Erich Uelmen is going to the defending World Series champions.
The Cal Poly (California) junior right-hander was selected by the Chicago Cubs in the fourth round and 135th overall Tuesday in the Major League Baseball draft.
“I knew when they announced it,” said Uelmen, who followed the draft with his family in San Luis Obispo, California. “I didn’t get any calls. It was kind of out of the blue. It caught me off guard, but it was good to see. … I know they’re a really good organization and they treat their players well. They’re coming off a World Series and they have a great fan base.”
Uelmen went 4-8 with a 2.93 ERA this season to earn second-team all-conference honors. His 100 strikeouts in 98 1/3 innings ranked second in the Big West Conference and 49th in the nation.
The 6-foot-3-inch, 205-pound Uelmen was the No. 139 prospect in the country by Perfect Game USA. His approximate pick value is $382,300, according to MLB.com.
By going to the Cubs, Uelmen sets up the potential of joining at some point Las Vegas native and former Bonanza High star Kris Bryant, the No. 2 pick in the 2013 draft and last year’s National League MVP.
“I don’t know what to expect,” Uelmen said. “But I definitely want to make my way through the ranks a little bit, develop and move up through the system. …
“I just want to thank my family, friends and those who supported me along the way and trained and coached me. I wouldn’t have been able to do what I did without their support and knowledge.”
Uelmen was the highest Southern Nevada pick since former College of Southern Nevada right-hander Phil Bickford went to the San Francisco Giants at No. 18 overall in 2015. Erick Fedde, who pitched for Las Vegas High and UNLV, was drafted 18th overall by the Washington Nationals in 2014.
Mikey York, a Basic High graduate and CSN right-hander, was the first area player taken in last year’s draft. He was picked in the fifth round (150th overall) by the Tampa Bay Rays.
Uelmen graduated from Faith Lutheran in 2014 after leading the Crusaders to two Division I-A state titles. He was a first-team all-state pick as a senior.
Colorado Mesa outfielder Bligh Madris, who graduated from Foothill High in 2014, was picked in the ninth round (268th overall) by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Madris, a redshirt sophomore, led the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference in batting average, home runs and RBIs to earn the conference’s triple crown. He batted .422 with 17 home runs and 67 RBIs, and was one of 12 finalists for the 2017 Tino Martinez Division II Player of the Year Award. His approximate pick value is $142,700, according to MLB.com.
“I’m extremely proud of this accomplishment for him,” Foothill coach Matt Iglitz said. “He deserves everything in the world. He’s one of the hardest-working kids I’ve ever coached.
“It shows that whatever school you’re zoned for, if you work hard, you’re going to see positive results. You don’t have to go to a Bishop Gorman or a prestigious school. He’s a testament to that. He was in our program for five years with summer ball and he just kept working harder and harder.”
Contact reporter Ashton Ferguson at email@example.com or 702-383-0430. Follow @af_ferguson on Twitter.