HBCU baseball players Nolan Santos from Bethune-Cookman University, Xavier Meachem from North Carolina A&T University, and Trey Paige from Delaware State University have been selected in the 2023 MLB Draft.

On Monday, Santos became the first player from an HBCU selected in this year’s MLB draft as he was drafted by the Minnesota Twins with the 207th overall pick.

Meachem was selected by the Miami Marlins in the 10th round with the 293rd overall pick, and Paige was selected by The St Louis Cardinals with the 515th pick of the 17th round.

Santos is the first B-CU player selected in the MLB draft since pitcher Anthony Maldonato in 2019 and the highest since Michael Cruz in 2016.

A standout at B-CU, the right-handed pitcher started 16 games during his junior season and finished with a 3.51 earned run average in 97 ⅓ innings. He had 138 strikeouts last season, placing him sixth in all of Division I college baseball.

Santos was one of 50 athletes who competed in the inaugural HBCU Swingman Classic last week.

“(The Twins) are getting a hard worker,” Bethune-Cookman head coach Johnny Hernandez said of Santos. “They’re getting a straight competitor, a bulldog on the mound. But they’re also getting a team-first individual.”

“No matter what individual accolades Nolan was able to earn this year, it was all about the team and what he was able to do to make not only the program but his teammates around him better.” Hernandez continued. “They’re going to get a really good, quality, high-character individual that is going to represent not only Bethune-Cookman but the SWAC as well.”

Meachem is the 21st North Carolina A&T player selected in the MLB Draft since the Texas Rangers selected RHP Leon Hunter in 2019 and is the highest since Al Holland in 1975. 

In 2023, the right-handed pitcher secured five saves and 12 strikeouts in 10.2 innings pitched. Meachem eventually became a starter and finished the season 2-1 with a 5.59 ERA in 48.1 innings pitched, according to N.C. A&T athletics. He also posted 47 strikeouts, became an MLB Draft prospect, pitched in the first annual HBCU Swingman All-Star Game, and made the USA National Collegiate Team.  

“When all of this started happening, I just thought back to my younger self,” said Meachem about getting drafted. “I never thought I would be in this position. I’m just really trying to enjoy the moment. It’s a dream come true to play for USA Baseball. Putting on the colors and playing for your country is very exciting. I’m proud to be representing African-American baseball players and HBCU players. It’s an all-around great opportunity.” 

“I’m super excited for Meach,” said N.C. A&T head coach Ben Hall. “He is a first-class person, and I know his best baseball is still ahead of him. It is always a fun time to see one of your guys accomplish a dream, especially one who has stepped up and really made it happen for himself. Xavier had a great year, and I couldn’t be happier for him.” 

Meachem will graduate from N.C. A&T with a degree in business management in December. 

Paige is the seventh player in DSU history to be drafted by an MLB team since 1991.

The 2022 MEAC Player of the Year, Paige is the eighth player in program history and seventh under current head coach JP Blandin to have been drafted by an MLB organization. He is also the second-highest MLB Draft selection in program history.

This season at Delaware State, Paige hit .372 with 14 homers, 15 doubles, 53 RBIs, 10 stolen bases, and a 1.159 OPS in 48 games and was named second-team All-NEC. Paige is also one of eight players in Delaware State history with more than 200 career hits, according to Reading Eagle.

The recently graduated Delaware State infielder was one of three HBCU players to participate in the 2023 MLB Draft Combine and had the first hit at the inaugural HBCU Swingman Classic.

“Our Hornet family is excited for Trey. ‘Cap’ has put in the work, and now he gets the opportunity he deserves,” said Blandin. “I am very grateful that the Cardinals drafted him as we have some former assistant coaches in that organization, and all told, it will be a perfect fit for him. He will make a great professional baseball player, and we all wish him the best.”

The Cardinals have listed Paige as a third baseman.