For the first time in the John Yurkow era, two of Penn baseball’s own are moving on to play professionally.
On the third day of the 2015 MLB Draft, recently-graduated catcher Austin Bossart and left-handed pitcher Ronnie Glenn each heard their names called, becoming the first members of the Red and Blue to be drafted in three years. It was only the third time since 2003 that multiple Penn players were drafted.
The reigning co-Ivy League Player of the Year, Bossart was the first player from the Ancient Eight taken in the first-year player draft, going to the Philadelphia Phillies in the 14th round with the 414th pick overall.
A four-year starter, three-time captain and two-time first team All-Ivy selection with the Quakers, Bossart was key in Penn’s resurgence over the past two seasons. The O’Fallon, Ill., native led the team with a .358 batting average in 2015 while notching 13 doubles, four home runs and 27 RBI as the Red and Blue ended their season tied for first in the conference’s Lou Gehrig Division for the second straight year.
“I’m excited for Austin to get this opportunity,” Yurkow said. “He is maybe the best leader I’ve seen during my time coaching college baseball. He arrived on our campus four years ago and moved into the starting lineup right away.”
For his career, Bossart batted .302, threw out 45.3 percent of would-be base stealers and played in 157 games, a figure good enough for third all-time in program history. The catcher finished his career with 34 doubles and 250 total bases at the dish, marks that rank eighth and tenth all-time in school history, respectively.
Bossart was the first Quakers’ player chosen since right-handed pitcher Vince Voiro went to the Oakland Athletics in 2012. He is the highest Penn selection since Mark DeRosa — a utility man who played for eight teams in 15 seasons — was drafted in the seventh round by the Atlanta Braves in 1996.
“Knowing his skill set both offensively and defensively, I think Austin is a solid addition to the Phillies’ system,” Yurkow said.
Eight rounds after Bossart’s name came off the board, the Los Angeles Angels nabbed the southpaw Glenn, who threw 52 innings while compiling a 3.12 earned run average in his senior season.
“It was probably the best day of my life,” Glenn said. “When I got the call from the Angels, the scout was so excited for me, he could tell that I was a compassionate guy and he wants to see me do well.
“I knew it was the right fit for me, and I was really happy that the Angels selected me.”
After predominantly spending his first two seasons in the Quakers’ bullpen, Glenn’s stats as an upperclassman starter were also influential in putting Penn on the cusp of winning the Ancient Eight in 2014 and 2015. In 19 starts since the beginning of the 2014 season, the Lake Worth, Fla., native compiled a 9-5 record while throwing six complete games.
“Ronnie did a lot of stuff for us during his career, moving from the bullpen to a weekend starting role,” Yurkow said. “Like Austin, he is just an unbelievable kid and I am so happy that is he getting this opportunity.
After his selection, the Angels informed Glenn that he would be playing for their affiliate in the Pioneer League — the Orem Owlz — in Utah in the coming months. His first game comes Thursday and — due to the extended period since he last was on the mound — he will initially see the bulk of his action out of the bullpen.
“I had a feeling he would end up with the Angels,” Yurkow said. “And I know they will give him every chance to be an important part of their system.”
“I think [Yurkow] was messing with me when he said that,” Glenn said. “He knows that I’m a pretty spiritual guy. I keep telling people that I’ve been praying to God this whole time, and I guess the Angels intercepted it.”
In tallying a team-leading 48 strikeouts in 2015, Glenn was named Ivy League Pitcher of the Week and Big 5 Pitcher of the Week in consecutive weeks for his efforts at the end of March and beginning of April. The veteran also picked up his second straight All-Ivy Honorable Mention at season’s end.
The Red and Blue stalwarts were two of the first three Ivy League players drafted, as Harvard pitcher Tanner Anderson went to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 20th round. The Crimson and Quakers each had two players drafted, while defending conference champion Columbia led all Ancient Eight schools with three individuals selected.
Though Brown, Cornell and Yale failed to register any draft picks, Princeton’s Tyler Servais was selected in the 27th round while Dartmouth infielder Joe Purritano went to the Cincinnati Reds in the 30th round.
Lions outfielder Gus Craig — who shared Ivy Player of the Year honors with Bossart — was picked by the Seattle Mariners in the 30th round. With Craig’s selection, each of the award’s past five winners ended up playing professionally at the end of their Ivy careers.
As Bossart and Glenn prepare to continue their time on the field away from Penn, the fact that the Quakers have seen two of their leaders drafted highlights the team’s improvement under Yurkow and could bode well for the team’s veterans in coming years.
“Coach Yurkow has supported our dreams since freshman year,” Glenn said. “He’s worked closely with us and he’s turned this program in a great direction. I think he’s a positive influence in the dugout and locker room, and he’s got these young guys really developing earlier and having them buy into the program.”
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