What a week it’s been for Ian Stiffler.
The 18 year old just graduated from Somerset Area High School on Wednesday. If that wasn’t special enough, two days later, Stiffler was selected by the Atlanta Braves jerseys in the 2013 Major League Baseball Draft.
“It’s everything I’ve worked for since I was a little kid,” Stiffler said Friday afternoon, moments after he was drafted. “It’s the best week of my life, by far.”
Stiffler, a hard throwing right handed pitcher, was selected by the Braves jerseys in the seventh round with the 223rd overall pick quite an accomplishment, considering there are 40 rounds in the MLB draft.
“I knew I had a pretty good chance of being drafted, but I had no idea I would go in the top 10,” Stiffler said. “I was watching the draft on the computer and I knew the Atlanta Braves jerseys’ pick was coming up. I got a phone call from the guy who was scouting me and I saw my name come up. I couldn’t comprehend it. It’s unimaginable.”
Baseball runs through Stiffler’s blood. His grandfather Tom Qualters was a major league pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies jerseys and Chicago White Sox jerseys in the 1950s while his brother Shawn Stiffler is currently the head baseball coach at NCAA Division I Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va.
Of his grandfather, Ian said: “He pretty much taught me the game, taught me how to pitch, taught me how to become a man. I owe everything to him. . My brother has played a huge part in my life also.”
Stiffler originally committed to play for his brother at VCU, but after being drafted so high, and an expected contract worth around $210,000, Stiffler said he will sign with Atlanta.
“It’s a very good deal,” he said. “I had a number going in and I was actually told that I should be able to get a little more (money).”
Stiffler, who stands 6 foot 1 and weighs 175 pounds, posted a 4 2 record with a sub 3.00 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 47 innings for Somerset this season. He pitched 14 shutout innings in the District 6 Class AAA playoffs and was clocked at 93 mph in the district championship game against Hollidaysburg.
Stiffler caught the attention of several pro scouts, including the Braves jerseys’ Gene Kerns.
“I saw scouts at my games but none of them really said anything to me,” Stiffler said. “(Kerns) saw me throw last year at the end of September. He talked to me again in the spring and he told me I need to make a decision college or pro.
“Yet another power right handed pitcher, Stiffler boasts three pitches he can throw with above average command: a fastball, curveball and changeup.
“Stiffler, the first Pennsylvania high schooler taken in the 2013 Draft, led (Somerset) to the district championship this spring.”
Stiffler is the first Somerset high school player to get drafted since Bryan Hagerich in 2007 (26th round by the Florida Marlins jerseys) and Jimmy Mayer in 2006 (30th round by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays jerseys). It’s also the highest a Somerset player has been drafted since Andy Rush (2nd round by the Boston Red Sox jerseys in 1988).
“It’s great for Ian. It’s great for his family,” cheap authentic jerseys Somerset head coach Steve Costea said. “He’s worked really hard and put in the time to get to this point. It’s a little surprising that he went that high, but he deserves whatever he gets.
“We’ve been lucky and fortunate here at Somerset, but we’ve also been good at what we do. It’s just another example of a young man moving up through the ranks, from little league, to legion and high school, moving forward. Ian got to a great place by working hard and going through the Somerset program. We’re really proud of him.”