One of the more popular Kentucky baseball players in recent memory is now just two steps away from reaching the majors.
The 6-11 Sean Hjelle, who played for the Cats from 2016-2018, was promoted to the San Francisco Giants Double-A Affiliate the Richmond Flying Squirrels Wednesday.
HUGE news, as Sean Hjelle has been promoted to Double-A and is headed to join the @GoSquirrels! That's his second promotion this season, his first full campaign in pro ball. #WeAreUK #CatsinthePros #MLBTrainingGround pic.twitter.com/xdWnK9yLkB— Kentucky Baseball (@UKBaseball) August 8, 2019
Hjelle had a dominant carer at Kentucky. In his sophomore season of 2017, Hjelle was named SEC Pitcher of the year after posting a 9-2 record and 3.17 ERA. In SEC play that season, Hjelle was nearly un-hittable as his ERA was 1.90 to pair with a 7-1 record. He followed his big sophomore year up with a solid junior season in 2018 in which he went 7-5 with an ERA of 3.44.
With his draft stock high, Hjelle decided to declare for the 2018 MLB Draft, where he was selected in the second round and 45th overall pick by the Giants.
After pitching in rookie ball last season, Hjelle began 2019 with the Giants Low-A affiliate in Augusta. There he pitched to a 2.66 ERA in nine starts which earned him a promotion to high-A San Jose. At San Jose Hjelle again impressed posting a 2.78 ERA in 14 starts which ended up earning him his third promotion of the year.
At just 22 years old and in his first full year in the minors, Hjelle is already ranked as the Giants sixth-best prospect by MLB Pipeline.
Hjelle has soared through the minors as he seems on pace to make his major league debut at some point next season.