The Seattle Mariners selected right-handed pitcher George Kirby out of Elon University with their first selection (20th overall) in the 2019 First-Year Player Draft, Director of Amateur Scouting Scott Hunter announced tonight.
Kirby, 21, recently completed his junior season at Elon University, going 8-2 with a 2.75 ERA (27 ER, 88.1 IP) in 14 starts. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound starter, limited opponents to a .221 (73×331) average while issuing only 6 walks and striking out 107 in 88.1 innings. Kirby was named Colonial Athletic Association 2019 Pitcher of the Year, after leading all Division I pitchers with a 17.83 strikeout-to-walk ratio and fewest walks per 9.0 innings (.611). He also ranked among Division I leaders in WHIP (11th, 0.89) and complete games (T13th, 3). Kirby was a 3-time Colonial Athletic Association Pitcher of the Week this season (February 19, February 26 & March 12), a 2019 Baseball America Second Team Preseason All-American and a 2019 Perfect Game Second Team Preseason All-American. MLB.com and Baseball America rated Kirby as having the “Best Control” among all eligible pitchers in the draft. Kirby is the first player from Elon University to be selected in the first round of the MLB Draft.
“George is an extreme strike thrower with big velocity”, Hunter said. “He is a very accomplished college pitcher. He is a strikeout pitcher who controls the zone, as evidence of his strikeout-out-walk ratio this season with Elon. We are extremely excited to add this caliber of a player to our organization.”
In three seasons at Elon, he went 19-8 with a 3.34 (ERA (89 ER, 240.0 IP) in 45 games, 34 starts. After his sophomore season, he was named to the 2018 Second-Team All-CAA and Second-Team NCCSIA All-State. His 10 wins in 2018 were tied for the 3rd-most in program history. He was named to the CAA All-Rookie Team following his freshman season in 2017. In 2017, Kirby was part of the first no-hitter in CAA Tournament history as he combined with Jordan Barrett to no-hit College of Charleston.
Prior to his time at Elon University, he was a three-time all-metro, all-state, all-section, all-league player at Rye High School in Rye, New York. He was ranked as the No. 2 right-handed pitcher in the state of New York by Perfect Game in 2016. He helped his team to a pair of league titles, a sectional championship and state finals appearance. Kirby was originally selected by the New York Mets in the 32nd round of the 2016 MLB First-Year Player Draft, but opted to play with Elon instead.
The Mariners will make two more selections tonight with the 59th and 76th picks of the draft. The 2019 Draft continues tomorrow with rounds 3-10 (starts at 10:00 a.m. PT) and rounds 11-40 on Wednesday (starts at 9:00 a.m. PT).