Snelten drafted in the ninth round by San Francisco Giants

Dane Mizutani

Gophers junior pitcher DJ Snelten was selected in the ninth round of the 2013 MLB draft Friday by the San Francisco Giants. He heard the news with a group of six or seven of his immediate family members back in his hometown in Illinois. 

Snelten said he was ecstatic as soon as his name was called, but said that feeling was coupled with a sense of relief after hours of waiting throughout the afternoon. 

"I guess as the rounds go by, you start to doubt yourself a little bit and you feel a little bit fearful, but I just had to hang in there," Snelten said. "It was all worth it when I heard my name."

Snelten said he tuned into the draft intently for the first two hours and started to get antsy as the anticipation built. He said he and his brother played catch in the backyard as a way to get his mind off of the potential selection.

"We didn't even listen for about two hours, and it helped," Snelten said.

Snelten said he had an idea that the San Francisco Giants had interest because his advisor told him he was on their board as the ninth round started. He said he talked to a member of the organization about a minute after the selection.

Snelten was the Gophers' No. 2 starter this season and compiled a record of 5-2 with a 2.15 ERA. He was the second Gophers player taken in the draft, as fellow lefty pitcher Tom Windle was selected the second round Thursday night.

Snelten was drafted in the 30th round of the 2010 MLB draft by the San Diego Padres, but he opted to play college baseball for Minnesota. He said in his three years with the Gophers he has developed mentally and emotionally as a pitcher. 

Snelten said last week that he would likely forgo his senior season if he was selected in the first 10 rounds of the draft. He said Friday night that he is leaning that way and is excited to start his professional career.  

"It's kind of a cool story, I guess," Snelten said. "I grew up playing baseball, but I wasn't very good to start. I got cut from every single team I tried out for in sixth, seventh, and eighth grade and had to fight my way from the ground up.

"It's been a long road and a long process and I'm excited that it's paid off," he said. "It was absolutely worth it."