CHAMPAIGN — Illinois closer Joey Gerber was available longer than expected Tuesday during the second day of the MLB draft, but the righthanded reliever was ultimately selected by the Seattle Mariners with the 14th pick of the eighth round and No. 238 overall. That draft spot is valued at $167,400.
Gerber pitched out of the bullpen exclusively during his three seasons at Illinois. The 6-foot-4 junior took the closer role in 2017 — following Tyler Jay and Nick Blackburn — and totaled 22 saves the last two seasons to rank third in program history. His 14 saves this spring tied him with Jay for the single season record.
Gerber, who can hit 93-95 mph consistently with his fastball, struck out 45 batters in 28 2/3 innings this spring. He finished the season with a 3.14 ERA and .182 batting average against.
Gerber was the second Illini drafted Tuesday. Junior first baseman Bren Spillane was selected by the Cincinnati Reds with the fourth pick of the third round.