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LB In MLB: Six Local Players Drafted

Six players from Long Beach schools were selected in the Major League Baseball Draft this week. The Dirtbags had four players picked while LBCC and Long Beach Poly each had one.

Jarren Duran – 7th Round, 220th Pick, Boston Red Sox

Duran is the 61st Dirtbags player since 1989 to be selected in the first 10 rounds of the MLB Draft, and LBSU has had at least one player drafted in the first 10 rounds in six consecutive drafts.

Duran made 169 starts at second base in his three seasons with the Dirtbags. The left-handed hitter had a .294 career batting average, and his 49 career stolen bases ranks fourth in program history. Duran led the Dirtbags with 67 hits, 42 runs scored, 17 stolen bases and two home runs. The 17 stolen bases also led the Big West Conference, and Duran was named All-Big West for the second consecutive year.

According to LBSU coach Troy Buckley and MLB scouting reports, the Red Sox will likely try to convert Duran into an outfielder because of his speed. He didn’t commit an error at second base during Big West play this season, and helped turn 34 double plays.

Duran’s draft slot value is $189,800.

Eli Villalobos – 14th Round, 417th Pick, Miami Marlins

Villalobos (6’3” 180lbs) was converted from a catcher into a hard-throwing right-handed reliever as a junior with the Dirtbags after transferring from Golden West College. He had a team-high 28 appearances, and as a reliever, Villalobos was 2-2 with a 2.25 ERA. He averaged one strikeout per inning while holding opponents to a .185 batting average.

Villalobos being selected meant the Dirtbags have now had multiple players selected in 18 consecutive drafts.

Clayton Andrews – 17th Round, 515th Pick, Milwaukee Brewers

Andrews was selected in the 40th Round by the Los Angeles Dodgers in last year’s draft after he won the Coast Pacific Conference Player of the Year award at Cabrillo College. In his first year with the Dirtbags, Andrews was the best two-way player in the country.

Andrews won a record four consecutive Big West Pitcher of the Week awards, and is the first player in conference history to be named Player of the Week and Pitcher of the Week during the same season. The southpaw finished with a 1.99 ERA and a Big West-leading 118 strikeouts that ranked 16th in the nation.

The center fielder only stuck out once every 35.8 at bats, which was the best in the country. Andrews hit .302 and led the Dirtbags with five triples. He was second on the team in RBIs (26), walks (25), and stolen bases (13) this season. Andrews was named first-team All-Big West.

Reese Berberet – 17th Round, 516th Pick, Colorado Rockies

Long Beach City College had an All-American and Big Stick Award winner in third baseman Reese Berberet. The two-time All-SCC selection had 18 home runs this season, the most in California, with a .344 batting average, a .789 slugging percentage and 24 RBIs in conference play. Berberet is the first Big Stick Award winner from LBCC.

Chris Rivera – 33rd Round, 993rd Pick, St. Louis Cardinals

Rivera (5’9” 175lbs) is second in Dirtbags history with 37 career saves. The four-year junior posted a 0.68 ERA in 13.1 innings, and recorded eight saves as the closer. Rivera had his role changed late in the season, and picked up more innings. He ended up striking out 45 batters in 36.2 innings, while only issuing five walks.

“He did everything we asked of him late when we wanted to use our better arms in meaningful innings,” Buckley said.

Buckley correctly predicted last week that Villalobos would be selected ahead of Andrews and Rivera, despite not having comparable statistics.

“It’s the eye test,” Buckley said. “You don’t normally see undersized pitchers get into the Major Leagues. But the tools are there (for Andrews and Rivera) and there’s good stories that come out of (the third day of the draft) like Matt Duffy and Mike Marjama.”

EJ Andrews – 36th Round, 1074th Pick, Pittsburgh Pirates

The Long Beach Poly senior and Fresno State commit helped the Jackrabbits make history this season. Andrews hit .515 with a .636 on base percentage and .787 slugging percentage in Moore League play. The first-team All-League center fielder was also 6-for-6 on stolen base attempts.


JJ Fiddler
JJ Fiddler is an award-winning sportswriter and videographer who has been covering Southern California sports for multiple newspapers and websites since 2004. After attending Long Beach State and creating the first full sports page at the Union Weekly Newspaper, he has been exclusively covering Long Beach prep sports since 2007.