FORT MYERS, Fla. – Coming off two of the best back-to-back years on the mound in FGCU history, junior right-hander Ricky Knapp (Port Charlotte, Fla./Port Charlotte HS) made it three straight rounds in the 2013 MLB Draft with an Eagle selected as he was taken by the New York Mets in the eighth round with the 236th pick on Friday.
Knapp’s selection came just 14 picks after classmate Brandon Bednar (Stuart, Fla./South Fork HS) was taken in the seventh round by San Francisco and also after right-hander Harrison Cooney (Vero Beach, Fla./Vero Beach HS) was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels in the sixth round. The three selections equal the program record for one draft set in 2008 and 2011, and marks the first time multiple FGCU players have been drafted in the top 10 rounds.
One of the most decorated pitchers in FGCU history, Knapp was also selected in the 2010 MLB Draft by the Detroit Tigers in the 44th round before coming to the SWFL campus. He is the 15th player in the program’s 11-year history to be drafted.
Knapp has been FGCU’s No. 1 weekend starter in each of the last two seasons, going seven or more innings in 22 of 28 starts over that span, including 17 performances of 100+ pitches. Led by back-to-back seasons with nine wins, Knapp ranks third all-time in the FGCU record book in wins (23), sitting three victories ahead of 2010 first round pick and current Chicago White Sox All-Star Chris Sale.
After going 5-1 as a late year starter his freshman season in 2011 in which he was named to the Atlantic Sun All-Freshmen team, Knapp took over the top spot in the rotation as a sophomore, producing a 9-4 record with a 2.34 ERA over a program single-season record 111.1 innings of work en route to being named the A-Sun Pitcher of the Year and a unanimous All-Conference first team choice. Included in his 111.1 innings were 12 performances of seven or more innings, including four complete games, and nine starts of 100+ pitches. His 2.34 ERA ranked second in the A-Sun while his nine wins were a league-best and his .246 opponent batting average was sixth in the conference.
Knapped entered the 2013 campaign as the A-Sun Preseason Pitcher of the Year by the league office, Perfect Game and Baseball America, and shouldered the No. 1 spot in the rotation by becoming the first pitcher in program history to work 100+ innings in two seasons. He produced a 9-3 record with a 2.10 ERA, figures that ranked second and third in the A-Sun, respectively, and landed on the A-Sun All-Conference first team for the second straight year. Knapp’s ERA was bolstered by his first six starts of the year that included wins over St. John’s and at then-No. 13 Florida in which his ERA was at 0.99 through 45.2 innings of work. A two-time A-Sun Pitcher of the Week in 2013, Knapp made seven straight starts in the middle of the year in which he threw more than 100 pitches capped by a 124-pitch night against Northern Kentucky that featured a career-high 12 strikeouts. The Port Charlotte, Fla. native finished the year with 74 strikeouts and limited opposing hitters to a .235 batting average.
The program’s all-time leader in shutouts (3), Knapp is 23-8 through three seasons with a 2.92 ERA over 283.1 innings, which are just five outs away from establishing a new FGCU record. Knapp’s 23 wins rank third in program history, while he’s also third in starts (38) and tied for fourth in complete games (6). Over his 38 starts, Knapp has gone seven or more innings 25 times, throwing 100+ pitches in half (19) of his starts.