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Six Black Bears Players Taken in the 2022 MLB Draft

Three former Black Bears players selected from inaugural-season team
July 20, 2022

July 20, 2022 – In the second year of the MLB Draft League, the first-half champion West Virginia Black Bears had six of their players selected in the 2022 MLB Draft. Along with OF Caeden Trenkle (9th round, 274th overall pick) taken on the second day by the Oakland Athletics,

July 20, 2022 – In the second year of the MLB Draft League, the first-half champion West Virginia Black Bears had six of their players selected in the 2022 MLB Draft. Along with OF Caeden Trenkle (9th round, 274th overall pick) taken on the second day by the Oakland Athletics, five more Black Bears were selected on the third and final day of the draft. Additionally, three Black Bears from the 2021 inaugural-season team were selected.

Drafted on Tuesday from the 2022 team were LHP Branden Noriega (11th Round by the Chicago Cubs), RHP Cédric de Grandpré (13th round by the Atlanta Braves), LHP Shane Murphy (14th round by the Chicago White Sox), RHP Austin Becker (16th round by the Colorado Rockies) and RHP Trey Braithwaite (16th round by the Cincinnati Reds).

In addition to the 2022 players taken in the draft, 2021 Black Bears selected were RHP J.P. Massey (7th round to the Pittsburgh Pirates), RHP Patrick Pridgen (15th round to the Detroit Tigers) and RHP Logan Clayton (17th round to the Arizona Diamondbacks).

Taken in the ninth round on the second day of the draft OF Caeden Trenkle has been a consistent offensive threat for West Virginia. In his 22 games with the Bears, Trenkle had .293 BA, 24 hits, 20 runs and 13 RBI. The Oklahoma State alum finished his college season with a .302 BA after advancing to the semi-final round of the Big 12 tournament (loss to Texas) and hosting the NCAA Regional in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Left-handed pitcher Branden Noriega made 10 appearances for the Black Bears this summer, throwing 11 innings with a 4.91 ERA. The sophomore from Miami Dade College wielded a dangerous fastball that topped out over 96 mph during the summer as he made quick work of most of his single-inning appearances with 14 strikeouts on the season.

One of the most dominant starting pitchers for the first month in the MLB Draft League, Cédric de Grandpré racked up 26 strikeouts in just 16 innings pitched during his time with the Black Bears. The Québec native started in four games and finished his season with a 2.25 ERA as he allowed only four runs during his time in West Virginia.

Reliever Austin Becker, selected in the 16th round, made the most of his appearances in the MLB Draft League. Becker, who posted a 1.80 ERA through 10 innings pitched, tied for first in the league for the most wins on the season with four. The former Texas Tech Red Ranger finished his college career with a 2-1 record, 4.29 ERA and 30 strikeouts.

The most consistent closer in the MLB Draft League, Trey Braithwaite was selected with the 483rd overall pick by the Cincinnati Reds. No stranger to playing at Monongalia County Ballpark, the former West Virginia University Mountaineer and NCBWA All-American dominated the MLB Draft League with 26 strikeouts in only 14 innings pitched. Braithwaite finished his career with the Black Bears with a 1.29 ERA and the highest recorded fastball velocity in the league, topping out above 99 mph.

In addition to the 2022 Black Bears selected, former Black Bears from the 2021 team taken in the draft were J.P. Massey to the Pittsburgh Pirates, Patrick Pridgen to the Detroit Tigers, and Logan Clayton to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Massey, a seventh-round pick, finished the 2021 season with 28 strikeouts in 26 innings pitched. Pridgen recorded the first complete game in MLB Draft League history on July 27, 2021, as he allowed just three hits and one earned run with seven strikeouts through his seven innings pitched.

The MLB Draft League saw a total of 36 players selected from this year's teams – 24 pitchers and 12 position players. All MLB Draft League teams resume their seasons on July 22, with the Black Bears hitting the road for six games to take on the Frederick Keys in a three-game series at Nymeo Field at Harry Grove Stadium before finishing with three games against the Trenton Thunder in Trenton, New Jersey.