Davenport Assumption graduate and University of Illinois senior Willie Argo was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 22nd round during the fial day of the Major League Baseball first-year player draft.|
"It's a great feeling to be drafted as a senior," Argo said. "It's kind of your last chance, but I'm really excited to be joining the Rays organization. I've heard nothing but great things. They like to grow and develop players and get them to the big leagues, so I'm really excited to start my professional career. I just decided that I would be happy with whatever happened and to go so much higher (than last year) is just a cherry on top."
Argo posted a strong senior season, earning first-team All-Big Ten honors after hitting .318, which ranked second on the team, and leading the squad with 22 stolen bases, 47 runs and 34 walks. He ranked third in the Big Ten in steals, sixth in on-base percentage (.430), seventh in walks and eighth in runs.
His 22 steals broke the Illinois career stolen bases record, as he finished his four years with 98, shattering the 30-year-old mark of 83 set by Todd Schmitke from 1979-82. His 98 steals also finished fifth in Big Ten history. Argo also broke the Illinois mark for career steals in Big Ten play, finishing his time at Illinois with 38, besting Kyle Hudson's 36 steals in conference play from 2006-08.
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