Detroit Tigers draft Kevin Ziomek of Amherst with 58th pick
Vanderbilt's Kevin Ziomek pitches in the first inning of a Southeastern Conference tournament college baseball game against South Carolina at the Hoover Met in Hoover, Ala., Thursday, May 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Dave Martin) Purchase photo reprints »
MLB.com's profile of Kevin Ziomek is shown in this screen shot after the Amherst native was drafted with the 58th pick by the Detroit Tigers Thursday. Purchase photo reprints »
NASHVILLE, TENN — Sitting in a Nashville hotel room with his parents, former Amherst Regional High School (Mass.) pitcher and current Vanderbilt ace Kevin Ziomek took in the Major League Baseball amateur draft with a modest celebration in a low-key setting.
Ziomek was selected by the Detroit Tigers with the 58th overall pick on Thursday evening.
The left-hander, who is expected to start the first of a best-of-three super regional matchup with Louisville on Saturday, has an 11-2 record and a 1.92 ERA in 16 starts as the Commodores’ No. 1 starter this season.
“To be honest I had no idea where I would end up,” Ziomek said. “It has been exciting and I’m just glad that the Tigers picked me and I feel fortunate to have the chance to play for them, but right now I have bigger things to worry about in winning (Vanderbilt) a championship.”
Ziomek avoided a large gathering for his big night, but that didn’t mean he didn’t have the support of other family and friends. He estimated that he received nearly 100 text messages and phone calls within 10 minutes of the announcement on the MLB Network.
Even though he was over a thousand miles away from home, Amherst was on the pitcher’s mind.
“I definitely want to thank Coach (Greg) Vouros — our high school coach at Amherst High — and all of my teammates that I played with there,” he said. “And I just want to thank everybody back home who has been such a big part of my success.”
Ziomek said he did not have to wait long to hear from his new team, and he was surprised by the laid back approach they had with him.
“The Tigers called as soon as my name was announced,” he said. “They just said ‘Kevin, we’re excited to have you, but we know you have got some important stuff to take care of in leading your team to Omaha and winning a national championship, so we don’t want to talk any logistics until after Omaha is over with.’”
The junior will have the opportunity to return for a senior season if he chooses not to sign a professional contract, but that is a decision that Ziomek says is still up in the air in his mind.
“I really haven’t made up my mind— it is going to be a really tough decision either way,” he said. “I love Vanderbilt and I love the guys here, and just thinking about leaving them is going to make things difficult.”
The deadline for that decision is July 12.
This marks the second time Ziomek has been selected in the MLB draft. He was selected in the 13th round of the 2010 draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks, but ultimately decided to enroll in school at Vanderbilt instead of signing a contract.
The selection makes Ziomek the highest drafted Vanderbilt player since Sonny Gray (18th pick, Oakland) in 2011.