NEW ROCHELLE, NY — Freshman right-handed pitcher Francisco Justo (Bronx, N.Y. / James Monroe HS) of the 2018 NJCAA Div. I Eastern District Champion Monroe College baseball team has been selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2018 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on Wednesday. Justo was the 363rd overall pick of the draft, going in the 12th round.
“We are extremely proud that Francisco has been drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals,” said head coach Luis Melendez. “He has worked extremely hard for such an opportunity and we wish him success in his upcoming professional baseball career. And although he will be wearing red and white, we know he will always bleed blue and gold!”
In his freshman campaign with the Mustangs, Justo played as advertised, serving as Monroe’s ace for the 2018 season. He finished the year with a perfect 10-0 record, capped off with a fantastic start and win against No. 8 Jefferson College in an elimination game at the 2018 Alpine Bank Junior College World Series in Grand Junction, Colo.
Justo’s efforts this season earned him a spot on the 2018 NJCAA Div. I All-Region XV Team, and his big start at the JUCO World Series saw him get picked to the 2018 JUCO World Series All-Tournament Team. He finished the season ranked sixth in the nation in strikeouts-per-nine-innings (15.20), seventh overall with 121 strikeouts, and 15th in the country with a 2.01 ERA. His 10 wins tied him for 21st in the nation, and were tied for the fourth-most wins among pitchers without a loss this season. He matched teammate Antonio Frias with a team-best 16 strikeouts in a single game, both of whom accomplished this feat during the 2018 NJCAA Div. I Eastern District Championships.
In Monroe’s second game at the JUCO World Series, Justo allowed just one earned run across eight frames, yielding just three hits and two walks while striking out nine batters to lift the Mustangs to their first-ever JUCO World Series victory. He got stronger as the game went on, shutting down the Vikings in order in each of his final five innings. His last inning of the season illustrated the impressive freshman’s talents, as he struck out the last two batters looking to close out the frame in decisive fashion.
Justo is a 6-foot-4 right-hander from Bronx, N.Y. He is a graduate of James Monroe High School in the Bronx.