With the 310th overall pick in the 2022 draft and their final selection of Day 2, the Yankees selected Will Brian, a left-handed pitcher from Eastern Kentucky University. A 5-foot-11, 200-pound reliever, Brian was not rated by either MLB.com or Baseball America in their pre-draft rankings.
Brian was a stud out of the EKU bullpen and was one of 10 finalists for the “Stopper of the Year Award” given by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association each year to the best reliever in Division I baseball. Against the best competition he faced this season, the lefty closer Brian was on point. He did not allow a hit in 5.1 innings of work against teams in the RPI Top 100, including Tennessee and Louisville, who both finished in the top 10 and featured very powerful lineups.
In total on the campaign, Brian pitched to a 1.83 ERA and 0.763 WHIP in 39.1 innings, with 12.1 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 — numbers that were fairly consistent with his totals from 2021 (aside from his improved WHIP). The 23-year-old worked as the closer for EKU during both of his last couple seasons, recording a total of 25 saves and setting a single-season school record with 15 saves in 2022.
.@_willieb19 slams the door on the Eagles in the eighth! pic.twitter.com/PBkDGNSTrK— EKU Baseball (@EKUBaseball) April 27, 2022
Brian’s strong season may have been a surprise to those around the program after he suffered a scary seizure in the team’s locker room last fall. The doctors have not been able to diagnosis a specific cause for the seizure, but after several weeks off, Brian came back throwing harder than ever and when the season started, he was performing on another level from where he had been in the past. Nearby LEX 18 News did a compelling interview with him in which he went into more detail on the scare.
Brian is the seventh pitcher selected by the Yankees in this year's draft, but the first left-hander. He is a redshirt junior and turned 23 this past April. The 2022 MLB Draft will run through 10 more rounds tomorrow before coming to a close. They’ll start with the 11th round at 2pm ET, and the Yankees’ next pick will be the 340th overall. (You can find their full list of picks here.) Instead of running articles on each selection though, Andrew and Madison will do them in two groups of five.
Enjoy the Home Run Derby tonight and stay tuned for more PSA draft coverage!