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Three Drafted UConn Baseball Players to Forgo Senior Year

Wills Montgomerie, John Russell and Willy Yahn are all turning pro.

Wills Montgomerie, John Russell and Willy Yahn plan to turn pro.
Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

As first reported by Daniel Connolly, all three UConn juniors selected in the MLB First Year Draft will be forgoing their senior seasons and heading off to the professional ranks.

Right-handed pitchers Wills Montgomerie and John Russell, as well as third baseman Willy Yahn, were all selected in the draft, with Montgomerie’s selection coming on Tuesday. Russell and Yahn were both taken on Wednesday.

Montgomerie is one of the more prolific strikeout pitchers in program history and was selected in the sixth round with the 190th overall pick by the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was an NEIBA All-New England third team selection and was on the All-American Athletic Conference second team after putting up 116 strikeouts in 89 1/3 innings pitched, punching out 11.67 batters per nine innings, 17th-best in the nation. He had a 6-3 record as a junior and led the team with 15 starts.

Russell’s call came at 486th overall when he was selected in the 16th round by the San Francisco Giants. Along with Patrick Ruotolo last year, Russell is the second consecutive UConn closer to be headed to the Bay Area. He burst onto the scene after being used lightly in 2016 to win the closer job. He turned out to have one of the best seasons ever for a Husky reliever, taking the single-season saves record from Kevin Vance and allowing batters to hit only .196 against him in 38 innings of work. He also struck out 66 batters.

Yahn was picked by the Baltimore Orioles in the 25th round with the 758th overall selection. He was a captain in his junior season and despite missing the first 10 games of the year with a broken hand, was one of the most consistent hitters in the lineup. He hit .317 AVG/.376 OBP/.434 SLG in 48 games with 26 RBI. He was on the All-American Athletic second team as well.

Montgomerie will presumably report to either the Rookie-level Ogden Raptors of the Pioneer League or the Arizona League Dodgers, while Russell will probably go to the Short Season Single-A Salem-Keizer Volcanoes of the Northwest League or the Arizona League Giants. Yahn will likely head to the Short Season Single-A Aberdeen Ironbirds, who compete in the New York-Penn League, or the Gulf Coast League Orioles.

Senior left-handed pitcher Doug Domnarski, who was selected 809th overall in the 27th round by the Miami Marlins will presumably report to the Batavia Muck Dogs, also of the New York-Penn League, or the Gulf Coast League Marlins.

If Yahn plays for Aberdeen, he will make his homecoming against the Connecticut Tigers on June 21-23 while Domnarski will be back in the state from Aug. 11-13 should he end up playing for Batavia.