Baseball

Belmont Abbey catcher continues draft trend in Division II

Belmont Abbey coach Chris Anderson lost his junior backstop to the MLB Draft, but he said he is seeing a growing number of Division II baseball players being drafted.

Crusaders junior catcher Anthony Dimino signed with the New York Mets on Monday after being selected in the 28th round last week, joining three other Crusaders in the minor leagues.

The numbers back up his assertions – 83 Division II players were drafted in the 2015 MLB Draft, up from 75 players in 2013. Two Division II players were selected in the second round this year, though Cal Poly’s Mitch Haniger was the last Division II player to be drafted in the first round (in the supplemental first round in 2012).

“It’s starting to become a little more common for Division II baseball players to get drafted, and that’s good (for the entire division),” Anderson said. “We’ve had a kid drafted here in the three years I’ve been here, so it’s not unique (to the program). It happens in bunches.”

Dimino began his journey in Belmont Abbey as a corner outfielder. When the Crusaders needed a catcher two seasons ago, Anderson began grooming Dimino to be a catcher. As such, Anderson said that though he’s grown exponentially from behind the plate in only 18 months of experience.

“Well, we didn’t have a catcher, and I knew his dad played catcher,” Anderson said. “I think that’s why people are intrigued by him, that he’s only been playing the position for 18 months.”

Dimino hit .452 with 47 RBIs and 89 hits in 2015, leading the team in all three categories.

Dimino joins former Crusader Alex Castellanos in the Mets organization. Castellanos currently plays for Triple-A Las Vegas in the Pacific Coast League. Former pitchers Emilio Pagan (Seattle Mariners organization) and Cody Stull (Oakland Athletics organization) are also in the minors.

“I’ve been blessed enough to see some of the guys I recruited at Lander (another Division II school) get drafted,” Anderson said. “We are all better for (Division II players getting drafted).”

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