Sports | Baseball

UPDATED: Savage, Thanopoulos sign with MLB teams

Updated June 16, at 10:30 p.m.

Junior Will Savage and George Thanopoulos, CC ‘16, both signed with MLB teams after being selected in the MLB First-Year Player Draft on Saturday.

The Detroit Tigers drafted Savage in the 16th round, as he becomes the third-highest player drafted in school history since 2000 behind outfielders Fernando Perez, CC ‘05, and Dario Pizzano, CC ‘13.

The Colorado Rockies then took Thanopoulos in the 27th round, a year after the right hander turned down the New York Mets to finish his career in Morningside Heights. 

Savage set career-highs in batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage this spring, posting a .367/.463/.487 line. He also stole 20 bases to lead the Ivy League. 

The Bronx, NY native is a career .329/.419/.429 hitter, and has spent time at second base, shortstop, and center field during his three seasons in Morningside Heights.

The MLB Draft Tracker lists Savage as a second baseman, where he played in his first two years for the Light Blue. But the Bronx, NY native split time between center field and second base this season. 

By signing with the Tigers, Savage will not return to Columbia for his senior season—a route that Thanopoulos opted for last summer.

According to The Ringer’s Rany Jazayerli, the only downside that could have arose in returning to the Lions would likely have been a smaller signing bonus from an MLB team next summer. 

“Seniors, because they don’t have the leverage to go back to school, generally make less money, and he probably knows that,” Jazayerli said this past spring of Thanopoulos. 

But even that near-certainty couldn’t persuade Thanopoulos to join the Mets last July, as he’ll now head out west.

Thanopoulos posted a 4.04 ERA and 154 strikeouts in 185.1 innings in four seasons at Columbia, highlighted by a strong 2015 campaign. The right hander sported a 3.69 ERA with 68 strikeouts as the squad’s top pitcher a year ago, but struggled to find the same form this spring. 

He made just six starts, and finished with a 6.69 ERA in 37.2 innings following a midseason move to the bullpen. 

chase.levitt@columbiaspectator.com | @CUSpecSports

Additional reporting contributed by Dan Radov and Bradley Davison

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