Athletics

All-American D.J. Artis top MLB Draft prospect

February 21, 2018

One of the most dynamic leadoff hitters in collegiate baseball will return for what may be his final season at Liberty. Junior outfielder D.J. Artis enters 2018 as a top Major League Baseball Draft prospect, projected by Baseball America to be taken in the first three rounds of June’s draft.

Last year, Artis became the seventh player in program history to receive postseason All-America honors. He was named to Baseball America, D1Baseball.com, and National Collegiate Baseball Writers teams. He was also chosen as the 2017 Big South Player of the Year and selected for the Big South All-Conference first team for the second consecutive season. He was recently voted the 2018 Big South Preseason Player of the Year, selected by the conference’s head coaches, and named to the 2018 D1Baseball.com Preseason All-America team.

Artis finished the 2017 season second in the nation with a .532 on-base percentage and was the national leader in walks with 62. Artis’ base on balls total eclipsed his own single-season program record of 52 walks in his freshman season. In addition, the sophomore led the Big South with a .359 batting average and 58 runs scored, while finishing second with 23 stolen bases.

“I have not seen many leadoff hitters at the college level who bring an on-base ability to a lineup like he brings to ours,” said Liberty Baseball Head Coach Scott Jackson. “Then you throw in the speed, power, and instinct, and you have a very dynamic player that is pretty special to our program.”

The native of Greensboro, N.C., who patrolled center field for the Flames, completed 2017 among the conference leaders in hits (ninth at 65), RBI (ninth at 45), and slugging percentage (third at .552). He collected 13 doubles, two triples, and six home runs.

It is Artis’ steady performance that makes him a game changer.

“D.J.’s the same guy every day when he shows up to the field,” Jackson said. “When your most talented position player upholds the standards in your program, you have a high-character young man and a special player.”

In Flames Baseball history, Liberty has had five players picked in the top four rounds. The most recent was Jason Jones in the fourth round of the 2004 Draft by the New York Yankees. He is joined by former Flames Sid Bream, a second-round draft choice by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1981; Lee Guetterman, a fourth-round selection of the Seattle Mariners in 1981; Renard Brown, a third-round choice by the Mariners in 1982; and Josh Brey, a fourth-round pick of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2001.

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