Utahns in baseball: BYU players drafted; Ky Bush logs Futures Game appearance

Spanish Fork Dons infielder Andrew Pintar hits the ball against the Lehi Pioneers during their game at Spanish Fork High School in Spanish Fork on Thursday, May 2, 2019. The Arizona Diamondbacks drafted Pintar in the fifth round of the 2022 MLB Draft.

Spanish Fork Dons infielder Andrew Pintar hits the ball against the Lehi Pioneers during their game at Spanish Fork High School in Spanish Fork on Thursday, May 2, 2019. The Arizona Diamondbacks drafted Pintar in the fifth round of the 2022 MLB Draft. (Silas Walker, Deseret News)



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — A pair of Spanish Fork High teammates who both ended up at BYU are among the baseball prospects drafted Monday.

The Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday selected BYU shortstop Andrew Pintar with the 138th overall pick of the 2022 MLB draft. His fifth-round selection comes with an estimated $422,000 signing deal, according to MLB.

Three rounds later, the Pittsburgh Pirates nabbed BYU left-handed pitcher Cy Nielson with the 230th overall pick, which carries a value of about $193,000. Both have until Aug. 1 to sign or they can return to BYU.

While Pintar struggled this season, hitting only .209 in 17 games before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery in March, he had a tremendous 2021 season that ended with a West Coast Conference freshman of the year award. His eye-popping 1.100 on-base plus slugging percentage last year also helped him go from walk-on to MLB draft pick by the end of his sophomore season.

Nielson, on the other hand, finished this season with a 3-0 record after appearing in 28 games as a relief pitcher, compiling 3.21 ERA in 33 2/3 innings. He also finished his 2022 campaign with a robust 12.2 strikeouts per nine innings, while only walking seven batters.

He was the 2019 Gatorade Utah Baseball Player of the Year prior to joining the Cougars. The Cleveland Guardians selected him in the 40th round of that year's draft, but Nielson ultimately opted to go to BYU.

The MLB draft began Sunday night. Former Desert Hills righty Drew Thorpe became the first Utahn taken off the board, going 61st overall to the New York Yankees. The Washington City native posted a 10-1 record with a 2.32 ERA in 15 starts for Cal Poly this season, racking up an impressive 149 strikeouts in 104 2/3 innings.

The final 10 rounds of the draft are scheduled for Tuesday.

Ky Bush's scoreless Futures Game appearance

MLB moved the draft to align with all the All-Star festivities happening in Los Angeles, which features the Futures Game, an exhibition contest celebrating the sport's top up-and-coming prospects. That list now includes former Fremont High star Ky Bush, who allowed a hit and a walk but struck out a batter in a scoreless inning for the American League Futures team.

Bush was a second-round pick for the Los Angeles Angels in last year's draft. The tall lefty is currently 5-2 with a solid 3.34 ERA after 14 starts with the Double-A Rocket City Trash Pandas, which has helped him climb to the No. 4 prospect in the Angels' minor league system.

He's also a level away from returning to Utah via a promotion to Triple-A Salt Lake.

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Carter Williams is an award-winning reporter who covers general news, outdoors, history and sports for KSL.com. He previously worked for the Deseret News. He is a Utah transplant by the way of Rochester, New York.

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