Bradley junior shortstop Jason Leblebijian (Arlington Heights, Ill./Prospect H.S.) was selected Wednesday by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 25th round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
If Leblebijian has not signed with the Blue Jays by July 13, he may return to Bradley for his senior season and become draft eligible again in 2013.
An honorable mention All-Missouri Valley Conference pick as both a freshman (2010) and sophomore (2011), Leblebijian is a three-year starter at shortstop for the Braves and has served as team co-captain each of the last two seasons. Though his batting average dropped to .235 in 2012, his 16 doubles and 24 extra-base hits both led the team and he finished third on the squad with a career-best 37 runs batted in. During the 2012 State Farm MVC Baseball Championship, he forced extra innings in the third round against Southern Illinois by belting a tying, 3-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning.
After being selected both a mid-season and postseason Northwoods League All-Star last summer, Leblebijian is scheduled to play for the Falmouth Commodores in the Cape Cod Baseball League this summer.
Following senior pitcher Joe Bircher (10th round by Houston), Leblebijian is the second Bradley player to be selected in the 2012 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. He also becomes the fourth Bradley junior selected in the last five years, following pitchers Collin Brennan (2008), Rob Scahill (2008) and Patrick Cooper (2010). Cooper signed with Detroit after being selected in the 14th round in 2010 and is currently working out of the bullpen for the Erie SeaWolves, Detroit's Double-A Eastern League affiliate.
Both Brennan and Scahill opted to return for a fourth year at Bradley following the 2008 Draft. A 48th-round pick by the New York Yankees in 2008, Scahill enjoyed an honorable mention All-Missouri Valley Conference season in 2009 before being selected in the eighth round by the Colorado Rockies in the 2009 June draft. He is currently a starting pitcher for Colorado's Triple-A Pacific Coast League affiliate, the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, where is is 3-7 with a 5.76 ERA and ranks third in the PCL with 70 strikeouts in just 59.1 innings. Brennan was a 34th-round pick by the Cleveland Indians following his junior season in 2008, but went undrafted following his senior year and pitched one season for the Gateway Grizzlies in the independent Frontier League.