I am a graduate of the University of Illinois. And while I'm not a huge college baseball fan, I do keep my eyes on the Fighting Illini baseball team every spring. One of the most exciting sporting events I have attended in Champaign was the 2015 Super Regional when the Illini hosted baseball powerhouse Vanderbilt. The 2015 team was the best in school history, going 50-10-1—including a 27-game winning streak.
The best player from the 2015 team was Tyler Jay; he was drafted 6th overall a couple hours after starting the last game of the season against Vanderbilt (a game that David Price watched in person). I wanted to check in on Jay, and all the Illini playing professional baseball.
Roark is the only Illini currently in the majors. He played in Champaign for two years (2006-2007) and struggled in his 22 starts: 4.72 ERA, 1.56 WHIP. After dominating in DC last year, Roark is having an average season (4.98 ERA in 106 IP). He turns 31 in October.
It was a joy to watch Jay pitch his junior year of college. As a lefty reliever, he threw 66 innings and allowed just 47 baserunners, while striking out 76. The Twins attempted to use Jay as a starter (15 starts in 2016). Unfortunately, terrible news broke a couple weeks ago. Hoping for a successful rehab for a great pitcher.
Sedlock was drafted 27th overall by the Orioles in the 2016 after a great year at Illinois (116 SO in 101 IP). Results have been mixed so far as a starter in High-A. My guess is he makes the majors as a reliever.
Duchene was the top starting pitcher on the 2015 squad and was taken by the A's in the 5th round of the 2015 draft. He hasn't pitched past Low-A; last fall he was suspended 50 games in 2017 for a positive drug test for amphetamines.
Nagle, another 2015 standout, is an outfielder in A-ball in the Pirates system.
Goldstein was a 2016 draft pick by the Mariners (9th round). In January, he was traded to the Athletics. Goldstein, a catcher and DH, has struggled in A-ball so far this year.
Walton played shortstop for Illinois. He went undrafted, but was picked up by the Diamondbacks. He is currently playing for the Kane County Cougars.
McInerney was a four-year player at Illinois, racking up 178 games. This past year, he was a stud: 15 HR, .416 OBP. He went undrafted, but has crushed Rookie ball pitching; in 17 games, he has hit 5 homers with a .434 OBP.
Lou Boudreau is by far the best Illinois player to make the majors. A member of the Hall of Fame, he is one of only three Illini athletes to have their number retired (Red Grange and Dick Butkus are the others). Since 2000, nine Illinois players have made the majors: Tanner Roark, Jason Anderson, Chris Basak, Mark Dalesandro, Darrin Fletcher, Kyle Hudson, Chris Robinson, Scott Spiezio, and Larry Sutton.