SECAUCUS, N.J. – Saint Joseph's junior catcher Deon Stafford, Jr., was selected in the fifth round of the 2017 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on Tuesday afternoon. The Pittsburgh Pirates chose Stafford with the 148th overall selection.
Stafford is Saint Joseph's highest draft selection since John DelMonte was picked in the fourth round in 1979.
Stafford earned First Team All-Atlantic 10 honors for the second consecutive season after hitting .288 with eight home runs, 35 runs scored, and 22 runs batted in. He also led the Atlantic 10 with a .464 on-base percentage, while his 42 walks were the most by an Atlantic 10 player heading into the postseason. Stafford was named to the All-Conference Second Team and the All-Rookie team as a freshman, and is the first Hawk to earn All-Conference honors in three different seasons.
A native of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Stafford became the second Hawk to earn Atlantic 10 Player of the Year honors when he claimed the award in 2016 after leading the league in batting average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, and home runs. He was also named the ECAC Division I and Philadelphia Big 5 Baseball Player of the Year and was a semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award, given to the nation's top collegiate catcher.
In 2015, Stafford was named the Big 5 Rookie of the Year and went on to become the New England Collegiate Baseball League's Rookie of the Year as well. A year later, he played in the prestigious Cape Cod League, earning All-League honors and winning a championship with the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox.
Stafford holds the program record for home runs in a game, setting the mark with three in a game at Richmond on March 26, 2016. He duplicated the feat on May 13 against Fordham and finished the season as the only player in Division I with multiple three-home run games.
His 18 home runs in 2016 are a single-season program record, while his 28 career longballs rank him second in school history. Stafford's .348 career average currently sits seventh all-time.
Stafford is the 26th Hawk to be drafted by a Major League club and the sixth to be selected during Fritz Hamburg's tenure.