Rumors have been flying but it’s pretty much official now. Jordan Parr and Kevin Johnson will no sign with their minor league teams and will return to the University of Illinois baseball team for the 2013 season.
This Friday is the official deadline for big league teams to sign players who were chosen in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft that happened June 4-6. Of the four Illini players, Willie Argo and Matt Milroy were signed to pro contracts. Argo was signed by the Tampa Bay Rays and now plays for the Rookie League Princeton Rays (MiLB.com has a nice feature article on Willie this past week, by the way.) Milroy meanwhile, is throwing for the Class A Jamestown (NY) Jammers in the Marlins organization.
Johnson and Parr however, are going to give it another year. According to the News-Gazette, both have already announced their intentions to come back this August to practice with the team and play in 2013 season.
Parr did receive an offer from his drafting team, the Los Angeles Dodgers but still opted to return. We can partially thank Coach Hartleb for that, I think.
“Another factor in his decision to return to the UI, Parr said, was the improvement he showed in his first season playing for Hartleb and Illini associate head coach Eric Snider. The Parkland College transfer led the 2012 Illini in batting average, RBI and slugging percentage as well as four other major hitting categories.
“I saw how much better I got playing under those guys, and I feel if I do another year (of college), I’ll improve my draft stock for next season,” he said.”
Johnson did not receive an offer from the New York Yankees. That said, I probably speak for all Illini fans when I say “We’re glad you’re back, Kevin!” Johnson has been one of the most consistent starting pitchers in recent Illini memory.