NEW YORK -- The MLB Draft League announced that the Cincinnati Reds have purchased the contracts of RHPs Brian Edgington and Carson Lambert from the West Virginia Black Bears and the contract of RHP Nick Payero from the Trenton Thunder. Four Draft League professional players have had their contracts purchased by a Major League club this season, with Edgington, Lambert and Payero joining Frederick Keys INF Casey Yamauchi (A’s). Eight Draft League players’ contracts have been purchased since the Draft League implemented a professional, second-half format in 2022.
The MLB Draft League had 47 players selected in the 2023 MLB Draft, including 34 players who had played in the first half of the 2023 season. The Draft League set a new record with 19 players drafted during Rounds 3-10, including 12 players from the 2023 Draft League season. Six players were drafted within the first five rounds, led by the Draft League’s first-ever Top 100 picks in Sabin Ceballos (No. 94 overall) and Devin Saltiban (98). Since the Draft's conclusion, more than 20 undrafted alums have signed free-agent deals with a Major League team.
Edgington, 24, made two starts for West Virginia this season, going 1-0 with a 1.64 ERA. He registered a 1.09 WHIP and .244 BAA in 11 innings, compiling 11 strikeouts against one walk. Edgington allowed only one earned run while completing at least five innings in both his Black Bears starts. He worked a season-high six innings against Frederick on July 29 to earn the win in his final Draft League start. The Hatboro, Penn., product garnered Third Team All-ACC honors as a Virginia graduate student this year after going 9-3 with a 3.57 ERA and 94/23 K/BB in 88.1 innings (18 games/15 starts).
Lambert, 23, was 1-1 with a 5.17 ERA in 10 relief appearances for the Black Bears. He had six outings with multiple strikeouts and totaled 22 strikeouts and five walks over 15.2 innings this season. Lambert had a season-high six strikeouts over 2.2 scoreless innings against State College on July 11 and made four consecutive scoreless appearances from July 18-25, during which he struck out seven batters in 3.2 innings. The Thousand Oaks, Calif., native was 2-1 with a 7.84 ERA in 16 games (1 start) for Texas A&M this year after going 9-6 with a 4.33 ERA in 116.1 innings while making 66 appearances for USC from 2019-22.
Payero, 23, posted a 2.95 ERA and 1.09 WHIP for the Thunder, making four appearances, including three starts. In 18.1 innings, the right-hander recorded 12 strikeouts and three walks. Payero allowed one earned run in consecutive starts to close out his Draft League campaign and completed a season-high six innings against Frederick on July 25 in his final start for Trenton. The Monroe, N.J., native was an All-Big East First Team selection for Seton Hall this year after going 5-3 with a 3.12 ERA and 62/22 K/BB in 69.1 innings (15 games/9 starts). He logged 182.2 innings across 58 appearances (25 starts) during five seasons with the Pirates, finishing with a 13-13 record and a 5.22 ERA.
The Draft League plays an amateur/professional hybrid-format season. After featuring exclusively Draft-eligible players during a 30-game first half of the season (June 1 to July 4), the Draft League transitioned to a professional league in the second half (July 7-Sept. 2), with undrafted, out-of-eligibility players signed to professional contracts comprising the six founding Draft League teams’ rosters while playing a 50-game schedule.