A third member of the Fighting Illini has been selected in the 2016 MLB Draft. On Saturday morning, senior reliever Nick Blackburn was taken in the 16th round by the Arizona Diamondbacks. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound RHP appeared in 24 games for Illinois this year, going 1-3 with a 3.73 ERA in 31.1 innings of work. His 11 saves were third-most in program history for a single season.
.@NickBlackburn8 is the third #Illini selected, a 16th-round pick of the @Dbacks " https://t.co/nN5CKQVrVp pic.twitter.com/p4gZvBWdPx— Illini Baseball (@IlliniBaseball) June 11, 2016
As a junior, Blackburn was drafted in the 22nd round of the 2015 draft by the New York Mets. Like senior catcher Jason Goldstein, it looks like returning to school was the right decision for Blackburn. MLB Draft picks after the 10th round don't have assigned slot values, but players can sign for any amount under $100,000. Improving his status by six rounds should help Blackburn a bit during contract negotiations.