The Knights baseball program has produced 93 players that were drafted into the MLB. This June, Andrew Deramo and Matt Diorio were added to that list.
Diorio, the Knights junior catcher and outfielder, was selected by the Pittsburg Pirates with the 495th pick in the 16th round of the draft.
“Matt is a very athletic player,” said Terry Rooney, Knights baseball head coach. “His ability to play multiple positions helps. The No.1 tool for Matt is his bat. He is a left-handed hitter, tremendous bat speed and tremendous balance. I think he has an opportunity to be a very special player in pro ball.”
Battling a thumb injury he incurred early in the season, Diorio was able to play and start in 36 games while maintaining a .279 batting average in 2016.
Diorio has signed with the Pirates and will start his professional career with the West Virginia Black Bears in Morgantown.
“My time at UCF is something that I will cherish for the rest of my life,” Diorio said. “Playing under the leadership of the UCF coaching staff helped me reach my goal and dream of becoming a professional baseball player. I will forever be a UCF Knight.”
Andrew Deramo also decided to turn professional, and signed with the Toronto Blue Jays, who selected him 882nd overall in the 29th round of the 2016 MLB Draft.
The sophomore right-handed pitcher mainly came out of the bullpen for the Knights, but last season, he was asked to step up and start four games in 2016. Deramo saw his innings and appearances grow last season, appearing in 18 games going 40 innings and striking out 45 batters.
“Through the lessons I have learned from the UCF coaching staff, I believe I am ready for this journey into professional baseball,” Deramo said. “I want to thank all of Knights Nation for their support!”
Deramo is a player that uses his height to his advantage. The 6-foot-6 Panama City native was also accurate in 2016 striking out about twice as many batters as he walked.
“Andrew has a very bright future ahead of him,” Rooney said. “He has always had a very big build and good arm action. This past season he put some things together and got more consistent as the year went on.”
With two players drafted this marks the ninth-straight year that the Knights have had a player selected in the MLB First-Year Player Draft.
The Knights currently have two players playing in the MLB. Former Knight Cody Allen pitched in 70 games last year for the Cleveland Indians.
Drew Butera played had a little bit sweeter job in 2015 as the backup catcher for Kansas City. He would eventually catch the last pitch that clinched the World Series for the Royals.
Matthew Saunders is the Sports Editor for the Central Florida Future. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.