UCSB’s Tate selected No. 4 overall in MLB draft

UCSB's Dillon Tate was a top-five pick in the MLB Draft on Monday. (Presidio Sports Photo)

UCSB’s Dillon Tate was a top-five pick in the MLB Draft on Monday. (Presidio Sports Photo)


Dillon Tate became the highest draft pick to ever come out of UCSB as the Texas Rangers selected the Gaucho pitcher with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2015 MLB First Year Player Draft on Monday.

Tate just completed a junior season at UCSB in which he struck out 111 batters in 103 innings. He posted an ERA of 2.26 with a WHIP of 0.91. The right-hander is 21 years old.

“It’s a very exciting day for Dillon and his family,” said UCSB head coach Andrew Checketts. “He deserves all the credit for his hard work, discipline, and vision for being excellent. I’m confident he will continue to represent UCSB well in his professional career. I’m personally looking forward to following his career and eventually cheering for him in a big league uniform.”

Tate is the first Gaucho to be selected in the first round of the MLB draft, unseating Maury Earnest (77th overall selection of the 1980 draft) as UCSB’s previous highest-ever selection. He is also the Big West Conference’s highest selection since Cal State Fullerton’s Christian Colon was selected fourth overall in 2010.

Tate was the first pitcher taken after the first three picks were shortstops.

Tate blew onto the scene during the 2014 season, when he went from a seldom-used freshman to one of the top closers in the country. For the year, he went 2-1 with a 1.45 ERA, 12 saves, 46 strikeouts, 17 walks, seven earned runs against, a .205 BAA, and 32 hits against in 43.1 innings pitched over 28 appearances. His dozen saves were the second-most in single season school history. Midway through the year, he was named a NCBWA Stopper of the Year candidate, an award handed out annually to the NCAA’s top reliever.

In that breakout sophomore campaign, Tate allowed an earned run just once in his first 24 outings, a span of 36 2/3 innings. After the season, he was named to the All-Big West Second Team.

After the 2014 season, Tate was invited to play for the star-studded USA Collegiate National Team, where he compiled a 0.79 ERA over 11 appearances. The last three Gauchos to suit up for Team USA – Valaika, Zito, and Erik Johnson – all reached the Major Leagues.

Tate’s selection continues a strong draft-day tradition for UCSB, as he becomes the 13th Gaucho to be selected by an MLB team since Checketts took over in 2012. UCSB has had at least one player selected in the MLB First Year Player Draft every season since 2001, a span of 15 years.