St. Thomas Aquinas College senior outfielder Giovanni Dingcong (Daly City, Calif./The Beacon School) was selected by the Oakland Athletics in the 30th (pick 893) round of the 2018 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on Wednesday afternoon.
Dingcong becomes the highest drafted Spartan in program history and the highest since Michael Sharpe was selected in the 35th round by the New York Mets in 2005. Overall he is the 4th Spartan to be selected in the first-year player draft and first since 2010 (Michael Aviles - 42nd round/Seattle Mariners). Former Spartan Brian Flynn was also taken in the 2002 MLB Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 40th round. In addition, John Muller signed with the Chicago Cubs as a nondrafted free agent in 2007.
Giovanni collected numerous conference, regional and national honors for his outstanding work on the field this season. Dingcong was named the ECC Player of the Year and a First Team All-Conference selection, along with D2CCA, NCBWA and ABCA/Rawlings First Team All-Region honors.
In 2018, Giovanni Dingcong held a .356 batting average (68-for-191) with 15 home runs, 55 RBIs and 48 runs scored. He also had 15 doubles, 3 triples and stole 21 bases in 54 games. For his career, Dingcong finished with a .326 batting average (249-for-763) with 47 homers, 180 RBIs and 161 runs scored in 217 games for STAC. He also is a member of the 200 hit club, and holds the single season home run record (20 in 2017), and career records for home runs (47), doubles (48) and RBIs (180), just to name a few. A four-time All-Conference selection and former All-American, Dingcong finished among the top-10 in ECC history with 48 doubles (10th), 249 hits (9th), 180 RBI (8th), and 47 homeruns (4th).
"STAC has been my home for 4 years, and a place where I played with a great group of friends over those years. Now that I have been drafted by the Oakland Athletics, it's an honor and blessing to play for a team from back home, and overall it's just a blessing for what happened today" stated Dingcong.
Giovanni's hard work and dedication on the diamond also carried over to the classroom, as Dingcong graduated from St. Thomas Aquinas College in May with a degree in Sports Management, highlighting the college's motto of student first and athlete second. The emphasis on academics and successful progress toward graduation were recognized by the East Coast Conference with the 2017-2018 Academic Success Rate Award, as the Spartans posted an 88 percent student-athlete graduation rate in the NCAA Academic Tracking System.