USD junior right-hander Paul Richan was selected by the Chicago Cubs with the 78th and final pick on the first day of the 2018 MLB Draft.
USD junior right-hander Paul Richan was selected by the Chicago Cubs with the 78th and final pick on the first day of the 2018 MLB Draft. (Photo courtesy USD)

USD pitcher Paul Richan was planning to have a few friends and relatives over Tuesday to watch the MLB Draft, anticipating being selected somewhere between the fourth to sixth rounds.

So much for that.


The Chicago Cubs used the final pick on the draft's first day — a second-round compensation pick (78th overall) — on the 6-foot-3 right-hander from Newhall.

Richan's mother and girlfriend were the only ones with him when the phone rang.

"I was watching the draft on TV, and it was kind of hectic," Richan said. "My advisor called me like a minute before the pick happened. He asked if I would take that (slot) money. I agreed to it. Within 30 seconds my name popped up on the board, and I was extremely excited.

"I don't even remember how I acted. All I remember is throwing my hands up in the air and being super excited."

The slot value at that pick is $762,900.

Richan went 4-6 this season for the Toreros with an impressive 101 strikeouts against just 13 walks over 89 2/3 innings. He said scouts were impressed this season with his competitive nature on the mound, workhorse mentality and ability to locate a fastball that approaches the mid-90s.

He had workouts in recent days with the Padres, Angels, Dodgers and Cubs.

"I had no clue where I would go until (Sunday) when I heard the Cubs were thinking about the last two picks they had in the second round and taking me there. That's when I first had the idea, but I had no clue."

Richan prepped at Newhall’s Hart High, which now has several connections to Chicago. Current Hart outfielder Cole Roederer was selected one pick before Richan. Hart alum Mike Montgomery is a current Cubs pitcher.

And, of course, there is a USD connection with the Cubs as well. Third baseman Kris Bryant was drafted by the Cubs out of USD with the second overall pick in the 2013 draft.

“Paul has improved by leaps and bounds during his time here at USD,” Toreros coach Rich Hill said. “He’s an intense competitor who pounds the zone with three pitches. The Cubs got another good one from USD.”

This is the sixth straight year the Toreros have had a player selected in the third round or higher. The group includes three first-rounders in Bryant (2013, Cubs), catcher/first baseman Conner Joe (2014, Pirates) and shortstop Kyle Holder (2015, Yankees).

The 40-round draft continues Tuesday and Wednesday. Other potential USD draft picks include outfielder Daniel Gardner and catcher Jay Schuyler, left-hander Nick Sprengel and shortstop Jeff Houghtby

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