Andrew Hoffmann, Nathan Lavender selected in 2021 MLB Draft

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Cameron Krasucki

Illinois pitcher Nathan Lavender stands near the dugout prior to the game against Purdue on April 18. Lavender and teammate Andrew Hoffmann were selected in the 2021 MLB Draft.

By Will Payne, Assistant Sports Editor

The 2021 MLB draft wrapped up after its third day, as major league clubs are selecting amateurs from round 11 to round 20. 

In the 12th round and with the 367th pick in the MLB Draft, the Atlanta Braves selected Illinois pitcher Andrew Hoffmann. The right-handed pitcher began his collegiate career at Oakland University in Michigan and transferred to John A. Logan College in Illinois for his sophomore season. 

At John A. Logan, he went 5-0 with a 2.08 ERA and 46 strikeouts in five starts. Hoffmann helped the team start off the season  20-1, though the season was shortened due to COVID-19. 

The Plainfield East native transferred to Illinois with three years of eligibility remaining and had a stand-out season for the Illini. During the 2021 season, he was 3-0 with a 2.87 ERA and 64 strikeouts in 11 starts. These numbers earned Hoffmann All-Big Ten Third Team honors.

Hoffmann was only the sixth Illinois pitcher since 1980 to not suffer a loss in a season, as the Illini went 8-3 in the games he started. He also has not lost a start since May of 2019 when the right-handed pitcher was a freshman with Oakland, so his streak stands at 34 games.

On June 7, Hoffmann was assigned to the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, who are a part of the MLB draft league. With the Scrappers, he had a 2.35 ERA and 0.90 WHIP over 7.2 innings.

Coming into the MLB draft, he was the No. 14 draft prospect from the Big Ten by D1 Baseball. 

In the 14th round with the 412th pick, the New York Mets selected Illinois pitcher Nathan Lavender. The Hudson, Illinois native achieved a 1-2 record with a 4.08 ERA and 37 strikeouts during his freshman year. After missing the 2020 shortened season with an injury, Lavender came back the next year and made his mark.

During the 2021 season, the left-handed pitcher played in 13 games as both a starter and reliever. In Lavender’s nine starts, he had a 7-2 record with a 4.11 ERA and 79 strikeouts, and he was the first Illinois pitcher to start a season off 5-0 since John Kravertz in 2015. 

He picked up Academic All-Big Ten and Big Ten Sportsmanship Awards at the end of the season while leading the Illini’s pitching staff in wins and strikeouts.

Lavender also spent time with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers early in the summer before the MLB draft. With the Scrappers, he had a 7.65 ERA during 20 innings of work. 

Before his sophomore year, he was the No. 18 prospect in the Big Ten by D1 Baseball.

Both pitchers have remaining eligibility at Illinois, so they will have the decision to sign with their respective MLB clubs or return to pitch for another season with the Illini. 

 

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