Saint Joseph's junior pitchers Ryan Kemp and A.J. Holland were selected in the 14th and 16th rounds, respectively, of the 2011 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on Tuesday afternoon. The Cincinnati Reds tabbed Kemp with the 445th overall selection, while Holland was taken by the Atlanta Braves with the 506th pick.
It is the second time in Saint Joseph's history that the Hawks have had two players chosen in the June draft in the same year; John DelMonte (fourth round, St. Louis Cardinals) and David Thornton (24th round, San Francisco Giants) were both selected in 1979,
"Today is a great day for the Saint Joseph's baseball program," said head coach Fritz Hamburg. "We're very proud of both Ryan and A.J. and the opportunity that they have earned. This shows what hard work, dedication, and perseverance can do, and they are prime examples of the kind of student-athletes we seek to develop here at Saint Joseph's."
Kemp, a native of Columbia, Md., served as SJU's closer this season and finished with a 1-2 record and a 3.14 earned run average. His four saves tied for the fifth-most in a single season in Saint Joseph's history. He held hitters to a .198 batting average in 28.2 innings, and his 25 appearances this season rank second all-time.
In conference play, Kemp's ERA dropped to 1.72 after appearing in over half of the Hawks' Atlantic 10 games. He also posted three saves and a .193 batting average against in league play.
Included in those 13 A-10 appearances is his April 2 performance at George Washington, where he entered with nobody out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth and proceeded to strike out the next three hitters to end the scoring threat. Kemp also fanned two more in the ninth to preserve the victory.
Holland hails from Margate, N.J., and has posted five wins in his collegiate career. He broke into the starting rotation as a freshman, and in 2011 ranked third on the squad in innings pitched (60.2) and second in strikeouts (50).
He tossed a pair of gems this season; in the first, Holland allowed two runs, one earned, on four hits over seven innings en route to a 3-2 SJU win over Mount St. Mary's on March 13. In the game, Holland struck out eight while allowing two walks. He also scattered nine hits and allowed one unearned run in another outstanding seven innings as the Hawks earned a doubleheader and series sweep over Temple, 4-1, on May 14. In the contest, Holland fanned six without walking a batter.
In 2010, Holland earned Big 5 Pitcher of the Week honors on April 20 after throwing nine and two-thirds innings of scoreless relief the previous week.
Kemp and Holland are the first Hawks to be selected in the draft since the Cleveland Indians selected Jason Hessler in 2007.