ORLANDO, Fla., Dec. 12, 2013 – Former James Madison right-handed pitcher Kevin Munson moved one step closer to becoming the program’s 13th Major Leaguer on Thursday as the Philadelphia Phillies selected him in the MLB Rule V Draft on the final day of the 2013 Winter Meetings at Walt Disney World.
Munson learned of his selection while representing the Diamondbacks in the winter Mexican League, where he had a 1.59 ERA in five appearances for Naranjeros de Hermosillo.
“Obviously I’m very thankful for the opportunity with the Diamondbacks, but I’m looking forward to this new opportunity with the Phillies,” said Munson, who found out about his selection from Twitter. “I’m excited to be back on the East Coast. It’s been fun to hear from a lot of the JMU baseball guys, other JMU friends and my family. Hopefully I’ll have a good spring training and make the team.”
As a Rule V selection, the Phillies must keep Munson on their 25-man roster in the Major Leagues for the entire season. To remove him from the roster he must either be offered back to the Diamondbacks or the teams must complete a trade in order for the Phillies to send him to the Minor Leagues while maintaining his rights.
Munson opened the 2013 Minor League season for the second straight year with the Class Double-A Mobile BayBears. He went 2-2 with a 3.41 ERA and 13 saves in 29 appearances before receiving his first promotion to Triple A. With the Reno Aces, he posted a 5.09 ERA in 23 innings pitched.
A 2010 fourth-round draft pick of Arizona, Munson has shown steady progression through the Minors. Directly out of JMU, he posted a 1.10 ERA in 12 games for South Bend in 2010. He spent most of 2011 in Class A Visalia with a 4.02 ERA in 42 games and a late-season call up to Mobile, where he helped the BayBears to a Southern League title. He was named a Rising Star in 2011 while playing among the best prospects in MLB in the Arizona Fall League and also recognized as a Mid-Season All-Star in the Southern League this year.
Munson holds JMU records for career saves (23) and season saves (10), a category in which he also ranks second with nine in 2009. The career mark also sits fourth in CAA history. He is third all-time at JMU with a 2.35 career ERA and 10th with his 2010 season ERA of 1.64. In 2010, he was named the CAA’s first Pitcher of the Year and a Third Team All-American after going 8-1 with 10 saves, a 1.64 ERA, a .174 opponent average and 70 strikeouts.
JMU head coach Spanky McFarland commented, “It’s a great opportunity. He’s been on the fringe for the last couple of years, so this might give him the opportunity to make a roster and stick. So it’s pretty exciting for him and his family as well as exciting for us and the JMU baseball community. He’ll be a lot closer to home if he does make it.”
If he makes the Phillies’ roster out of spring training, Munson will become the 13th former Diamond Duke to make it to the Major Leagues. In 2013, former pitcher Ryan Reid (2005-06) was called up in midseason by the Pittsburgh Pirates to join one of baseball’s best bullpens. Reid made seven appearances with the Pirates while posting a 1.64 ERA in 11 innings.