The University of Nevada baseball team had five players taken in the final day of the 2015 MLB Draft on Wednesday. Senior Austin Byler was taken with the first pick of day three in the 11th round to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Additionally, junior Ryan Howell was selected in the 15th round by the Oakland Athletics, junior Adam Whitt was picked in the 16th round by the Houston Astros, senior Jordan Devencenzi was picked in the 26th round by the Athletics and senior Kewby Meyer was drafted in the 37th round by the Tampa Bay Rays.
These five Wolf Pack players recently capped a stellar individual and team season in 2015, leading Nevada to its second-most wins in a season in program history and the school's first Mountain West championship.
The Wolf Pack has had 18 alumni play in Major League Baseball. Currently, Chad Qualls is the only former player on an active MLB roster.
With the very first pick on day, the Diamondbacks selected Byler in the 11th round with the 316th pick overall. Byler – a native of Arizona – joins former Pack standout Braden Shipley as recent Nevada players drafted by the Diamondbacks. Byler could once again swing the bat in Reno as the Diamondbacks triple-A affiliate is the Reno Aces.
Byler was drafted in the ninth round by the Washington Nationals in the 2014 MLB Draft, but decided to return to Reno, where he led the Wolf Pack to a magical season in 2015. Byler batted .328 with 65 hits, 69 runs and 52 RBI and was named to the All-Mountain West first team and Louisville Slugger All-American third team. The 2014-15 Doc Martie Award winner ranked third in Division I in on base percentage and fifth in walks and runs this season.
With a .321 lifetime batting average, Byler led Nevada to 129 victories in one of the most accomplished careers in recent Pack history. In Nevada's career record books, Byler ranked fourth in home runs (40), fifth in triples (11) and walks (115), sixth in games played (211), seventh in at bats (763), eighth in runs (180) and doubles (50) and ninth in hits (245) and RBI (161).
Junior Ryan Howell's stellar first season with the Wolf Pack led to being drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 15th round with the 458th pick overall. The first team All-Mountain West selection was Nevada's second player taken in the draft.
After transferring to the Pack from Chabot College, Howell took the nation by storm in 2015 and was named the 2015 District VII Player of the Year by the NCBWA. The Brentwood, Calif., native started in all 56 games, batting .312 with 67 hits, 54 runs, 65 RBI and 17 home runs. Howell ranked sixth in Division I in home runs and 15th in runs batted in.
Howell could return to Nevada for his senior season, or attempt to become the first Wolf Pack player to play professionally for the Athletics.
Shortly after Howell's selection, another Wolf Pack player came off the board as the Houston Astros selected junior Adam Whitt in the 16th round with overall pick No. 469. The Carson City native set the program record for saves in a season with 14, earning first team All-MW honors this year.
Whitt made a team-high 27 appearances in 2015, logging a 2.82 ERA in 38.1 innings pitched. His 14 saves led the conference and ranked 10th in the nation. Whitt struck out 47 batters compared to just nine walks.
Whitt has already received a degree from Nevada in Community Health Sciences and participated in senior day ceremonies. He will attempt to become the third player in program history to play professionally for the Astros; Donnie Angottie (1989) and Chad Qualls (Current).
Whitt will leave his name in Nevada's record books in multiple locations, ranking second in program history in career saves (22) and third in career appearances (81).
Senior catcher Jordan Devencenzi became the second Pack player taken by the Oakland Athletics, joining Howell. The Tracy, Calif., native was selected in the 26th round in the 788th overall pick.
Devencenzi arrived at Nevada from Delta College and went on to play in 102 games with 100 starts in two seasons with the Pack. In his senior season, Devencenzi went .294 at the plate with 50 hits, 25 runs and 30 RBI. Behind the dish, Devencenzi logged 307 putouts and 60 assists with just two errors and a .995 fielding percentage.
Along with Howell, Devencenzi will attempt to become the first former Pack player to play professionally for the Athletics.
Senior Kewby Meyer was Nevada's final player drafted after being selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 37th round. Meyer graduated from Nevada as one of the top hitters in program history, ranking second in career doubles, third in games played and fourth in hits.
The left fielder from Waipahu, Hawai'i., batted .343 this season with 81 hits, 60 runs and 55 RBI. Meyer ranked second in the Mountain West in doubles, third in hits and 10th in batting average to earn first team all-conference honors.
Meyer will attempt to become the third former Pack player to play professionally for the Rays, joining Craig Markel (2002) and Travis Simas (2009).