Brad Lidge Selected in First Round of Baseball Draft
Allen Greene goes to the Yankees in round nine.
June 2, 1998
NEW YORK - University of Notre Dame junior righthanded pitcher Brad Lidge (Englewood, Colo./.Cherry Creek HS) has been selected with the 17th pick of the 1998 major league baseball draft by the Houston Astros, becoming the highest-drafted Notre Dame player in 33 years and joining 1965 catcher Ken Plesha as the highest-drafted Irish players in the history of the major-league draft (Plesha was drafted by the Chicago White Sox).
Lidge's classmate, centerfielder Allen Greene (Seattle, Wash./Bishop O'Dea HS), was a ninth-round selection of the New York Yankees, producing just the second pair of Irish teammates to be drafted in the first 10 rounds of the same draft. Righthander Christian Parker was a fourth-round pick by Montreal in 96 while centerfielder Scott Sollmann went in the seventh round of that draft.
Lidge, who entered the Notre Dame program after being drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 42nd round out of high school, developed this season into one of the nation's most dominant pitchers, becoming the 11th college player and sixth college pitcher selected in the 1998 draft.
Known as a late bloomer and excellent athlete, the 6-3, 200-pound Lidge improved the velocity on his fastball from 88 miles-per-hour as a freshman to as high as 97 mph this season. He was named the 1998 BIG EAST Conference pitcher of the year after totaling a BIG EAST-leading 93 strikeouts in 80.1 innings, second-most in the Notre Dame program's 107-year history. Lidge finished 1998 with an 8-2 record, winning his final eight decisions, while ranking 12th in the BIG EAST with a 4.15 ERA and seventh with a .240 opponent batting average. He averaged 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings and posting a 2.4 strikeout-to-walk ratio (25 total walks).
Lidge's first experience as a pitcher didn't come until the junior year of his high school career, when a talented and crowded outfield prompted a change of position. He went on to earn all-state honors while leading Cherry Creek High School to the 1995 state title and is one of four former CCHS players to be drafted in the first round during the past six years.
Greene--a 52nd-round pick out of high school by the Toronto Blue Jays--finished fifth on the 1998 Irish baseball team with a .317 season batting average and tied for second with 53 runs as the leadoff hitter for much of the season. His seven home runs tied for fifth on the team while his 44 RBI ranked fourth. Greene's other 1996 totals included 31 walks, 47 strikeouts, 12 stolen bases on 19 attempts and four errors on 119 fielding chances. He led the team in batting with runners in scoring position for the second consecutive season (.370).
See attached biography for further information on Lidge's career.
NOTES: Lidge is the third BIG EAST pitcher selected in the first round of the last two drafts, following the talented 97 duo of RHPs Jason Grilli (4th pick, Seton Hall, S.F. Giants) and Chris Enochs (11th pick, West Va., Oakland As) ... Lidge is the seventh BIG EAST player ever drafted in the first round (since 85) and fourth-highest, behind Grilli, Enochs and Seton Hall RHP Matt Morris (12th pick in 95, St. Louis Cardinals) ... other previous BIG EAST first rounders: SHU 1B Mo Vaughn (23rd pick, 89, Boston Red Sox), UConn RHP Charles Nagy (17th pick, 88, Cleveland Indians) and SHU C Craig Biggio (22nd pick, 87, Houston Astros) ... Lidge is the third Notre Dame player drafted by the Astros, joining 1B/OF Frank Jacobs (90) and OF Smith (92).
BRAD LIDGE: "I'm extremely excited and enjoying everything as it goes. ... Looking back on my season, the Miami game (Feb. 28, 27-2 loss, 1.1 IP, 9 ER, 5 H, 5 BB) may have been the turning point for me. I didn't lose confidence and didn't let it rattle me for the rest of the season. It was a wakeup call and I was able to re-establish my fastball while becoming a better pitcher as the season went on. ... When I first came to Notre Dame, I was very immature in terms of knowing how to pitch. I was just a hard thrower who needed to learn a lot. Our pitching coach, Brian O'Connor, has made a huge difference in the pitcher that I am today. He has taught me so much about the mental approach to the game, about how to locate your pitches and about how to just get certain batters out. And coach Mainieri always has stuck with me and given me every chance to prove myself. ... Looking back on my high school career, it was a great decision to move from the outfield to pitcher before my junior year. We had a very talented outfield and I'm glad I followed the coaches advice and tried out pitching."
NOTRE DAME HEAD COACH PAUL MAINIERI: "Speaking for the Notre Dame baseball program, we are extremely proud of Brad's first-round selection, not so much because he is our highest drafted player in 33 years but because of the way he reached this point. Brad had to overcame periods of adversity and uncertainty but he trusted in the advise of our coaches, learned from the older pitchers and made the most of our opportunity. He also is coming off a 3.0 semester and intends on completing his Notre Dame degree whenever he has the chance. Brad's progress from a raw talent into one of the nation's top college pitchers is really an inspiring story and Notre Dame baseball is proud to have been a part of that development. You're going to see this kid pitching in the major leagues some day."