PISCATAWAY, NJ – Redshirt sophomore David Williams (Franklin Twp., NJ) and junior Johnny Defendis (Staten Island, NY) were selected on the second day of the 2005 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft. Williams was taken in the 25th round (741 overall) by the Arizona Diamondbacks, while Defendis was taken 880th overall in the 29th round by the Chicago Cubs.
"Both guys have great tools and natural ability, which is what the scouts look for," said head coach Fred Hill. "I thought both had the type of year that warranted a chance to play at the next level and if they decide to move on, we wish them nothing but the best. You hate to lose players like David and Johnny, but having players of their caliber is what allows us to compete at a high level year in and year out."
Williams, in his first season as a starter, hit .312 with six home runs and 32 RBI as the Scarlet Knights' starting right fielder in 2005. He missed eight games with a shoulder injury, but returned to the lineup and hit .375 over his final 18 games, hitting safely in 12 straight upon his return. A 6-4, 215-pound right fielder, Williams redshirted in 2003 and played sparingly as the team's fourth outfielder in 2004.
Defendis is a three-year starter for the Scarlet Knights and hit a team-best .370 in 2005 as the cleanup hitter, driving in a team-high 49 runs. He hit .303 as a freshman in 2003 and .290 last year as a sophomore. Prior to the start of the 2005 season, he was rated the fifth-best pro prospect in the BIG EAST by Baseball America and finished sixth in the league in average and third in hits (81) this spring. The 2002 NY Gatorade Player of the Year, Defendis was selected in the 41st round of the 2002 draft by the Colorado Rockies after an outstanding prep career at Xaverian Brothers in Brooklyn.
Williams and Defendis are the 8th and 9th outfielders selected out of Rutgers since the 1999 season. Williams' selection also means that every player who has started in right field for the Scarlet Knights since 1998 has been picked in the MLB draft, joining David DeJesus (1998), Pete Zoccolillo (1999), DeJesus (2000), Billy McCarthy (2001), Val Majewski (2002) and Jeff Frazier (2003, 04).