2023 MLB Draft Central: Three Vols Taken on Day 2

Welcome to the 2023 Major League Baseball Draft Central page, your one-stop shop for all information on this year’s draft picks from the University of Tennessee.

This page will be updated throughout the 2023 MLB Draft, which begins Sunday (Rounds 1 & 2) and continues on Monday (Rounds 3-10) before concluding on Tuesday (Rounds 11-20).   

For the third time in the last four years, Tennessee baseball had a player selected in the first round of the MLB Draft, as pitcher Chase Dollander was taken with the No. 9 overall pick by the Colorado Rockies on Sunday night.

Dollander became the 19th first-round pick in program history and the fourth under head coach Tony Vitello and his staff, including the second pitcher to go in the first round during that time, joining Garrett Crochet (No. 11 in 2020).

No Tennessee player has been drafted higher than Dollander during Vitello’s tenure, as the Georgia native became the first Vol picked in the top 10 since Nick Senzel went No. 2 overall in 2016. Dollander is also the highest-drafted pitcher straight out of college in program history (see note below).

**VFL Luke Hochevar was selected with the 40th pick in the 2005 MLB Draft but did not sign and played one season of independent league pro ball before being taken with the first overall pick of the 2006 draft.

More info on Tennessee’s 2023 first-round selection can be found below.

RHP – Chase Dollander – Colorado Rockies – First Round – No. 9 Overall

A highly-decorated performer during his two seasons at Tennessee, Dollander posted a 17-6 record and a 3.64 earned run average during his career with the Vols. The junior right hander posted back-to-back seasons with 100-plus strikeouts, finishing with 228 during his two years with the Big Orange, which ranks ninth in program history. He also held opponents to a .212 batting average in 33 appearances (31 starts).

On top of earning consensus first-team All-America honors in 2022, Dollander became just the second player in program history to earn Southeastern Conference Pitcher of  Year recognition after posting a perfect 10-0 record and an NCAA-best 0.80 WHIP to go along with a 2.39 ERA.

Dollander recorded seven more victories in 2023 to help lead the Vols to their second Men’s College World Series appearance in three years. He was also named a College Sports Communicators Academic All-American, becoming just the ninth player and second pitcher in UT history to earn such honors.

Three Volunteers had their named called on Day 2 of the 2023 MLB Draft as Maui Ahuna was taken by the San Francisco Giants in the fourth round, Andrew Lindsey had his named called by the Miami Marlins in the fifth round and Seth Halvorsen was selected by the Colorado Rockies in the seventh round. 

Tennessee now has had three players or more taken in the first five rounds of the MLB First-Year Player Draft in three of the last four drafts. Prior to the 2020 draft, the last time Tennessee had that many players taken in the first five rounds was 2007.

For more information on the Volunteers’ second-day selections, read below.

SS – Maui Ahuna – San Francisco Giants – Fourth Round – No. 117 Overall

Ahuna made the most of his one season in the Orange and White, finishing second on the team with a .312 batting average while leading the Vols with 20 doubles.

The junior shortstop paired his elite defensive skills with production at the plate, serving as one of the team’s most dangerous hitters over the second half of the season, finishing the year with eight home runs, 42 RBIs, 110 total bases and a .962 OPS despite not playing in 12 games.

Ahuna was Tennessee’s top hitter in the College World Series, batting .462 with a team-leading six hits and two runs scored over the team’s three games in Omaha. In nine NCAA Tournament games, the Hilo, Hawaii, native, batted .308 with four RBIs, eight runs and 12 hits, including a pair of doubles and a homer.

RHP – Andrew Lindsey – Miami Marlins – Fifth Round – No. 146 Overall

After stepping away from baseball for a year, Lindsey found his way to Tennessee and burst onto the scene in his lone season with the Vols, earning third-team All-America honors from Baseball America.

The New Johnsonville, Tennessee, native, began the year as a reliever before earning a weekend starting role midway through the season to help spearhead a second-half surge for the Big Orange on their way to Omaha. Lindsey’s 2.90 ERA was the lowest of any UT pitcher who threw 40 or more innings while his 1.11 WHIP was the second lowest. The veteran right hander went 3-4 on the year in 21 appearances with nine starts, striking out 73 batters while allowing just 19 walks and holding opposing hitters to a .225 average.

After moving Lindsey to the starting rotation, the Vols went 6-3 in his nine starts, including five consecutive SEC series-opening victories down the stretch to secure postseason positioning. Lindsey earned NCAA Clemson All-Regional team honors after striking out 10 and allowing just one run over seven innings against his former team as UT defeated Charlotte, 8-1.

RHP – Seth Halvorsen – Colorado Rockies – Seventh Round – No. 202 Overall

Halvorsen emerged as one of UT’s top bullpen arms this season, leading all full-time relievers with 52 innings pitched and 52 strikeouts while posting a 3-3 record and two saves.

A former weekend starter at Missouri, Halvorsen transferred to Tennessee in 2022 but missed the entire season due to injury before becoming a key piece to the Vols’ bullpen in 2023 and helping lead the program back to the Men’s College World Series.  
Halvorsen’s 1.06 WHIP and .201 opponent batting average were both the lowest on the team among pitchers who threw at least 35 innings. The Minnesota native’s 25 appearances ranked third on the team while his 3.81 ERA also ranked third among pitchers with 35-plus innings of work.

2023 MLB Draft Central: Three Vols Taken on Day 2

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