Nashville, Tenn. - After listening to three days of selections in the 2017 Major League Baseball Draft, Lipscomb junior Jeffrey Passantino finally heard his name called in the 40th round, when the Chicago Cubs used the last pick of the draft to select the right-handed hurler.
Passantino was the third Lipscomb player to be selected after Michael Gigliotti went to the Kansas City Royals in the fourth round and Brady Puckett was chosen by the Miami Marlins in the 15th round.
“I’m so proud of Jeffrey and excited to see him get a chance with the Cubs,” Lipscomb skipper Jeff Forehand said. “He has worked so hard for this opportunity and we all know he will take advantage of it.”
This year’s draft marks the first time since 1993 that Lipscomb has had three players chosen. Passantino represents the 11th Bison to be drafted in the Forehand era and the 29th Lipscomb player to ever be selected.
The Fort Myers, Florida native has arguably been one of Lipscomb’s best pitchers over the last three seasons. In 46 career appearances, Passantino had a 15-9 record with a 3.10 ERA in 261 innings pitched.
“He has been such a great pitcher for us and there is no reason that he won’t continue to succeed in pro ball,” Forehand said. “He’s one of the best pitchers I’ve ever coached.”
In 2017, Passantino demonstrated outstanding control with a 10.56 strikeout-to-walk ratio, which was the second-best in the nation behind Auburn’s Casey Mize. Passantino collected 241 career punch outs and issued just 35 free passes during his time as a Bison.
Among Passantino’s many honors is the B.F.C. Whitehouse Award, which is given to the most outstanding pitcher in the Cape Cod League. Passantino earned that distinction when he went 6-0 and had a 0.64 ERA with 55 strikeouts and only five walks while playing for the Falmouth Commodores last summer.
He was also named ASUN Second Team All-Conference in both 2015 and 2017, while earning ASUN Pitcher of the Week on three different occasions during his career.
As a freshman in 2015, Passantino burst onto the scene by going 5-1 with a 2.69 ERA, the second-lowest on the team. His efforts led him to being named a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American, while also being selected to the ASUN All-Freshmen Team.
Passantino continued to show his pitching prowess by going 6-5 with a 3.40 ERA as a sophomore in 2016, before dominating the Cape Cod League later that summer. His 82 strikeouts in 2016 were tied for third-most in the ASUN.
The Bishop Verot High School graduate turned in a stellar junior campaign in 2017, finishing with a 4-2 record and a 3.09 ERA. Passantino delivered 10 quality starts and matched his career high of 10 strikeouts against Illinois State, Evansville and Mississippi Valley State.