Lindenwood University junior pitcher Geoff Hartlieb was selected in the 2016 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft for the second straight year, this time by the Pittsburgh Pirates with the 885th selection in the 29th round on Saturday.
This year’s selection for the Highland native is an eight-round improvement from 2015 when the right-handed hurler was drafted by the New York Mets in the 37th round with the 1,109th pick.
Hartlieb just completed his second season at Lindenwood for the baseball program after transferring from Quincy University upon completion of the 2014 school year. As a Hawk, Hartlieb played basketball, giving the righty an extra year of eligibility, since he came to St. Charles, Mo., to play baseball.
“It’s definitely pretty cool to be drafted again by another team,” the 2012 Highland High School graduate said. “Going into the day, I knew the Pirates were going to take me, so this draft experience was much different than last year’s. It was much more enjoyable! It was much different this time solely for the reason that I had already been through the entire process before. I was still nervous obviously, but not in the same way.
“Now I’m just excited and ready to go play. I feel much better with the Pirates this year. I still have the option to head back to school for another year, because of my eligibility, but pro ball is where I need to be, and it’s hopefully where I’m headed. I’m hopeful to sign soon and head off to play.”
This past spring, Hartlieb averaged over 7.5 strikeouts per nine innings and threw three complete games, while starting 11 games and appearing in 13 contests. Hartlieb also led all qualifying pitchers in only allowing 20 percent of hits allowed to be for extra bases.
The hard thrower has also found success in the classroom as 2016 marked the second consecutive year he was named the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) Academic Honor Roll.
Lindenwood baseball coach Doug Bletcher is proud of what Hartlieb has been able to accomplish during his time at Lindenwood.
“I am excited and thrilled for Geoff being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates. This young man has dealt with a ton of adversity during his time here and never once wavered from doing the right thing of giving up his dream,” Bletcher said. “Geoff was the 2016 Keith Fietsam Scholarship recipient, the 2016 Lindenwood Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year, a multiple MLB draftee, and all the while, simply remained a great person. I am proud that he is a product of our baseball program.”