Wednesday, 24 June 2009 12:30
SUNY College at Old Westbury junior and right-handed pitcher Robert Whitenack was chosen by the Chicago Cubs in the eighth round of the Major League Baseball Draft held at the MLB Network Studios in Secaucus, NJ on June 10. Whitenack was the 260th selection overall, becoming the first ever Panther to be drafted by a Major League team and the first Division III player taken in the 2009 draft.A junior from North Massapequa, Whitenack appeared in 35 games the past three seasons, making 24 starts including six complete games and three shutouts. In an April 2008 game against Polytechnic Institute of NYU he threw a 14-strikeout no-hitter in Old Westbury’s 11-0 victory.
This season Whitenack posted a 2.81 ERA to lead the Panthers to a program best 27-13 record. In 67.1 innings, he posted a career-high 5-2 record, registering 79 strikeouts and holding the opposition to a .190 batting average. For his career, Whitenack has gone 12-10 on the hill with a 3.03 ERA and 189 strikeouts in 183.1 innings.
Whitenack finished his collegiate career as Old Westbury’s all-time leader in strikeouts (179) and earned back-to-back Skyline Conference Pitcher of the Year awards in both 2008 and 2009. He was also named the 2009 ECAC Pitcher of the Year and earned a spot on the ECAC All-Star Team. Last summer, he was named the top prospect of the Hawaii Collegiate Baseball League after posting 40 strikeouts, just two short of the league leader. Whitenack, pitching for the Waikiki Surfers, appeared in 12 games and sported a 2.15 ERA over 37.2 innings and was a league All Star.
In the 34-year history of the draft, 25 Division III players have been selected in the first three rounds, the last being Jordan Zimmerman of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 2007, who was chosen in the second round as the 67th overall pick by the Washington Nationals. In 2007, 19 Division III players were selected followed by 20 players drafted in 2008.