MLB Draft Taps Two MIT Students

by Nancy DuVergne Smith on August 11, 2017 · 2 comments

in Alumni Life

Editor’s note: While this is the first time that two MIT students have been drafted in the same year, it is not the first time an MIT baseball player was drafted while still in school. Find out about three more alumni who played big league ball

By Ahaan Rungta, The Tech

The 2017 Major League Baseball draft, held in June, was historic for MIT—for the first time in school history, two Engineers were selected. Infielder Austin Filiere ’18 and right-handed pitcher David Hesslink ’17 became the second and third Engineers ever to be selected in the MLB draft. The only other Engineer to be drafted was Jason Szuminski ’01, a right-handed pitcher for the San Diego Padres, drafted in the 27th round by the Chicago Cubs in 2000.

Austin Filiere was drafted by the Chicago Clubs.

Austin Filiere was drafted by the Chicago Clubs.

As an Engineer, Filiere has batted .375 with 13 home runs in 36 games. As a first-year student, he took over as the starting third baseman for the Engineers and earned countless honors to begin his college career. More recently, Filiere lit up the Cape Code League in 2016 with his eight home runs and 29 RBIs in 38 games to lead his Harwich Mariners to an East Division championship and earning him the Manny Robello 10th Player Award. Off the field, he is a business analytics major and is currently leading MIT’s team in an numerous number of offensive categories. Filiere’s major in 15-2 and his prowess on the diamond earned him a selection in the eighth round as a third baseman by the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs.

We got a chance to catch up with Filiere after his historic night being drafted in the eighth round (highest among the three drafted ballplayers from MIT) and asked him about his experiences so far and what he is looking forward to.

The Tech: When was the first time you realized that you were probably going to be drafted by an MLB team?

Filiere: I started thinking that I was going to get drafted after playing last summer in the Cape Cod League. I knew it was going to be a bit of a long shot since I played in Division III, but I felt comfortable playing in the Cape and just wanted a chance to play pro ball. I really had no idea where I was going to get drafted. I was thinking top 15 rounds, but it’s the draft, so you never know.

The Tech: There are not a lot of people in the league who can say they went to MIT and got drafted in the early rounds of the MLB draft as a third baseman. How has your time at MIT shaped your career as a ballplayer?

Filiere: What I have learned in the classroom will definitely help me after my playing career is over, especially if I were fortunate enough to be in a front office setting. I have been fortunate at MIT to be able to hit and work out with a few teammates in the offseason to try to keep getting better. The MIT coaches have also been very supportive, knowledgeable, and helpful.

David Hesslink was drafted by the Seattle Mariners.

David Hesslink was drafted by the Seattle Mariners. Learn more about Hesslink’s good fortune. Images: DAPER, Ken Johnson, Jr.

The Tech: Explain to us the process of entering the draft and what goes through your mind after you are informed of the results. 

Filiere: For MLB, you never really enter the draft. A team either selects you or doesn’t (taking into account factors like skill level, age, signability). I had told teams I just wanted to play and would sign for whatever the fair value they evaluated me at was. I am going to play baseball for as long as I can, and then after I will worry about trying to get a job in the front office.

The Tech: Anything extra-special about being drafted by one of the most historic franchises in the sport and the defending World Series champions?

Filiere: I am just really thankful that the club gave me an opportunity, but it is definitely exciting knowing that Theo Epstein is one of the people leading the Cubs.

The Tech: What’s going to transpire in the near future?

Filiere: I am going to play summer baseball with a Cubs minor league affiliate, and then I am going to finish my degree at MIT in the fall. In the future, obviously my goal is to someday make it to the Major Leagues and then stay there for as long as possible.

Read the full interview on The Tech website.

Learn more about pitcher David Hesslink’s good fortune landing with the Seattle Mariners.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Dr. Mark Kriger August 19, 2017 at 8:15 am

Inspiring! Hope to see you get traded to the Red Sox.


Bob goodof August 22, 2017 at 12:07 pm

Al Dopfel, ’72, was drafted- I think by the Angels in the 4th round


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