Alan Roden technically played his sophomore season for Creighton this spring.
The left-handed slugger took a redshirt year in 2019 and, after having the 2020 season canceled by the pandemic, he was named a freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball in 2021 after hitting .378 with 47 RBIs.
But when Senior Day ceremonies took place at Charles Schwab Field this May, Roden was part of the honored class. The anticipation was that Roden would be selected high enough that 2022 figured to be his final season with the Jays.
"He's had scouts call him, he's had scouts at every game. A lot of young players, that affects them big time," said Creighton coach Ed Servais in May following CU's home finale. "Not Alan, he just plays. He enjoys playing baseball, he's a great teammate."
Roden didn't wait long Monday before hearing his name called. Roden was taken by the Toronto Blue Jays midway through the draft's third round. He was the 98th overall pick.
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That was part of a very fruitful day for area players in the MLB draft.
Roden's Creighton teammate, Big East pitcher of the year Dylan Tebrake, was selected in the eighth round by the New York Mets.
And two Creighton Prep graduates, Dylan Phillips and Matt Keating, also were selected. Phillips, who played at Kansas State, was taken in the eighth round by the Los Angeles Angels, while Keating, who played at USC, was a ninth-round selection by the New York Yankees.
Roden is the highest player drafted since Servais became coach in 2004. Roden surpassed outfielder Will Robertson, who also was selected by Toronto with the 117th overall pick in the 2019 draft. Robertson currently is playing Double-A for the Toronto organization.
The last time a Creighton player was taken higher than the third round was 1993 when St. Louis selected Alan Benes in the first round.
"Super happy for Alan. Texted him with right away," Tebrake said. "He's probably going to be a big leaguer in the next couple years, and there's never been a doubt about it."
Roden was named the co-Big East player of the year this spring as he hit .387 with 75 hits, including 25 doubles. He drove in 46 runs, scored 48, stole nine bases and struck out eight times - he was the second-most difficult player to strikeout this season. He walked 29 times and was hit by a pitch 15 times.
"He puts the ball in play, he uses the entire field," Servais said. "His plate discipline is unmatched at this level. ... I wish all our hitters understood that's a big part of being a good hitter, controlling the strike zone."
Servais said Tebrake was "rock-solid" down the stretch this spring when he won the Big East pitcher of the year award for a second straight year.
The right-hander finished the spring 8-2 with a 2.71 and 115 strikeouts in 93 innings. One of his most memorable moments from the season came in his final home start when he broke the Creighton single-game strikeout record with 15 during a 3-1 win over Butler.
Tebrake, who said he plans to start his pro career later this month with the St. Lucie Mets in Florida, said he'll always be in debt to Creighton's coaching staff for getting him to this point. And he said being drafted was a cool experience.
"It really hasn't set in yet," Tebrake said less than two hours after being drafted. "I felt a range of emotions. Overall, pretty euphoric."
Tebrake expected to be taken anywhere from the fourth to eighth round. "It got interesting at the end," he said when he was taken with the 239th overall pick.
Phillips, the all-time home run leader at Kansas State, was taken one pick ahead of Tebrake. He hit 44 homers as a Wildcat, and this year hit .283 with 13 homers and 43 RBIs.
The left-hander was a two-way star for Kansas State. This season he made a career-high 16 appearances as he had a 2.66 ERA and a team-best eight saves. He struck out 26 in 20.1 innings with opponents batting .186.
Keating spent the past season at USC after he was named an NJCAA first-team All-American at Southeast Community College. For the Storm, he hit .404 with 19 homers, 62 RBIs and 27 stolen bases, while on the mound he had a 0.56 ERA in 16 innings.
At USC, he primarily was the team's closer with seven saves. In 24 appearances, he threw 30 innings with 44 strikeouts and held opponents to a .212 batting average.