Illinois State third-year sophomore Ryan Cermak has been selected in the second round, 71st overall by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2022 MLB Draft.

Cermak, coming off one of the best individual seasons in program history becomes the highest pick out of Illinois State since Neal Cotts in 2001 and the third second round pick in program history. Cermak was picked in the Competitive Balance Round B of Round 2.

β€œI am extremely thankful to be selected by the Tampa Bay Rays,” said Cermak. β€œIt’s a dream come true and tremendous honor to be drafted. I am grateful for my parents, coaches, trainers, and teammates who helped me get to this point.”

Cermak was named MVC Defensive Player of the Year and First-Team All-MVC for the second-straight season in 2022. He finished with a team-high .340 batting average, 43 RBIs, 45 runs scored and 19 home runs, becoming the first Redbird since 1999 to hit at least 15 in a single season and tied for the second-highest mark for a single-season in school history. Cermak was also MVC Scholar-Athlete First-Team and a CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree with his 3.77 GPA in Recreation Management.

The Riverside, Illinois, native came to ISU as a shortstop and pitcher but transitioned to the outfield early in the 2021 season. Known for his elite range and knack for making challenging catches, Cermak solidified himself as one of the nation’s premier defenders, becoming the first Redbird to be named an ABCA/Rawlings Gold Glove winner in 2022. He played third base his freshman season and the early part of 2021.

For his career, Cermak hit 32 home runs, good for fourth in program history. Cermak is a career .301 hitter with 90 RBIs, 84 runs scored, and 11 stolen bases. Fourth-year head coach Steve Holm has now produced eight pro players in his time at ISU including 2019 draftees OF John Rave (Kansas Royals, 5th round, 139), LHP Brent Headrick (Minnesota Twins, 9th round, 269), LHP Matt Walker (Detroit Tigers, 13th round, 382), OF Joe Aeilts (Colorado Rockies, 14th round, 429), and RHP Jeff Lindgren (Miami Marlins, 24th round, 711). LHP Colton Johnson (Oakland Athletics, 16th round, 488) and Hayden Jones (Cincinnati Reds, non-drafted free agent) joined the pro ranks in 2021.

Fourth-year head coach Steve Holm has now produced eight pro players in his time at ISU including 2019 draftees OF John Rave (Kansas Royals, 5th round, 139), LHP Brent Headrick (Minnesota Twins, 9th round, 269), LHP Matt Walker (Detroit Tigers, 13th round, 382), OF Joe Aeilts (Colorado Rockies, 14th round, 429), and RHP Jeff Lindgren (Miami Marlins, 24th round, 711). LHP Colton Johnson (Oakland Athletics, 16th round, 488) and Hayden Jones (Cincinnati Reds, non-drafted free agent) joined the pro ranks in 2021.

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