Hofstra lefthander John Rooney of Hoosic Valley, New York, was selected in the third round of Tuesday’s 2018 Major League Baseball first-year player draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The junior was taken with the 104th overall pick. The Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year and Colonial Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year was ecstatic over his selection.
“You dream your whole life to play for a big-league organization and to get that chance to play the game you love on the professional level,” he said. “I’m that guy from a small upstate area that Hofstra believed could compete in Division I. And having the opportunity to learn from a great pitching coach for the last three years really helped me develop into a prospect.”
Rooney built a special bond with Hofstra pitching coach John Habyan. The former major leaguer tweaked Rooney’s mechanics, allowing him to gain better command of the strike zone. And he taught him a backdoor slider and killer changeup.
“John’s a very special player, who was very coachable, and worked well with Habyan,” Hofstra head coach John Russo said. “We’re super excited for him and his family.”
Rooney was 8-2 with a 1.23 ERA and 108 strikeouts in 95 innings. He held opposing batters to a .166 average and at one point threw 49 1⁄3 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run. He set the program record for strikeouts in a career with 271.