J. B. Bukauskas
Arizona Diamondbacks – No. 33
Pitcher
Born: (1996-10-11) October 11, 1996 (age 25)
Ashburn, Virginia
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
MLB debut
April 20, 2021, for the Arizona Diamondbacks
MLB statistics
(through 2021 season)
Win–loss record2–2
Earned run average7.79
Strikeouts14
Teams

Jacob Allen "J. B." Bukauskas (born October 11, 1996) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks of Major League Baseball (MLB). He played college baseball for the North Carolina Tar Heels of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Amateur career

Bukauskas attended Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn, Virginia. As a freshman, he helped Stone Bridge win both the regular season and district titles.[1] On July 7, 2012, Bukauskas committed to the University of North Carolina, which he considered his "dream school."[1] As a sophomore, he was named first-team All-Met.[2] Bukauskas reclassified during the summer after his sophomore year in order to graduate and attend North Carolina a year early.[3] He was named the 2014 All-Met Baseball Player of the Year after compiling a 7-0 record, striking out 88 batters, and not allowing an earned run during the season.[4] Bukauskas finished his high school career with a 21-3 record, 264 strikeouts, and a 0.88 ERA.[4]

Despite being expected by some to be drafted within the first two rounds of the 2014 MLB draft, Bukauskas asked every MLB team not to draft him.[5] He was selected in the 20th round by the Arizona Diamondbacks but did not sign with the club, reaffirming his commitment to North Carolina.[6]

In his freshman year, Bukauskas led the Tar Heels with 14 games started and was part of the weekend rotation.[2] In 2016, he played collegiate summer baseball with the Chatham Anglers of the Cape Cod Baseball League.[7] As a junior, after going 9–0 with a 2.02 ERA during the regular season, he was named ACC Pitcher of the Year and first-team all-American by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball.[8]

Professional career

Houston Astros

The Houston Astros selected Bukauskas with the 15th overall selection in the 2017 MLB draft.[9] He signed with the Astros on July 7, 2017.[10] He was assigned to the Gulf Coast League Astros, and after one scoreless outing for them, was promoted to the Tri-City ValleyCats where he finished the season, posting a 4.50 ERA in six innings pitched.[11]

In 2018, Bukauskas returned to pitch in the GCL and with the ValleyCats along with pitching for the Quad Cities River Bandits, Buies Creek Astros, and the Corpus Christi Hooks, compiling a combined 4–2 record with a 2.14 ERA in 14 starts between the five teams; he missed time during the year due to injury.[12] He returned to Corpus Christi to begin the 2019 season.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Bukauskas was traded on July 31, 2019, to the Arizona Diamondbacks (along with Corbin Martin, Seth Beer, Joshua Rojas, and cash considerations) in exchange for Zack Greinke.[13] He was assigned to the Jackson Generals and finished the season there. Over 22 games (16 starts) between the two clubs, he went 2-5 with a 5.44 ERA.[14] On November 20, 2020, Bukauskas was added to the 40-man roster.[15]

On April 18, 2021, Bukauskas was promoted to the major leagues for the first time.[16][17] He made his MLB debut on April 20 against the Cincinnati Reds, getting Nick Senzel to fly out as the only batter he faced.[18][19]

Pitching style

Bukauskas regularly throws a mid-90s fastball and been able to hit 100 mph with it since his last year of high school.[20] He also has a slider that sits in the mid-80s and a changeup in his repertoire.[21]

Personal life

Bukauskas's parents are Ken and Lynn Bukauskas. He was majoring in communications while at North Carolina.[2] He is of Lithuanian origin.[22]

References

  1. ^ a b Williams, Preston (July 11, 2012). "Stone Bridge sophomore pitcher JB Bukauskas commits to 'dream school' North Carolina". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 20, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c "North Carolina Bio". goheels.com.
  3. ^ Whittle, John (July 9, 2013). "Bukauskas to start UNC career early". 247Sports. Retrieved April 20, 2016.
  4. ^ a b "2014 Spring All-Met Baseball". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 20, 2016.
  5. ^ Callis, Jim (May 7, 2014). "Bukauskas asks to be left out of 2014 Draft". MLB.com. Retrieved April 20, 2016.
  6. ^ Creech, Ed (June 8, 2014). "Draft Signings: Skoglund, Rays, Helmink, Bukauskas". MLB Draft Signings. Retrieved April 20, 2016.
  7. ^ "Jacob Bukauskas - Cape Cod Baseball League - player". pointstreak.com. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  8. ^ "Bukauskas, Warmoth Earn First-Team All-America Honors". goheels.com. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  9. ^ McTaggart, Brian (June 13, 2017). "Astros see Gray in No. 15 pick Bukauskas". MLB.com. Retrieved July 20, 2017.
  10. ^ Boutwell, Christian (July 7, 2017). "Astros sign first-rounder Bukauskas". MLB.com. Retrieved July 20, 2017.
  11. ^ "J.B. Bukauskas Stats, Highlights, Bio - MiLB.com Stats - The Official Site of Minor League Baseball". MiLB.com. Retrieved February 1, 2018.
  12. ^ Kaplan, Jake (November 8, 2018). "How Astros prospect J.B. Bukauskas salvaged a season nearly lost to a car accident". The Athletic. Retrieved April 12, 2021.
  13. ^ McTaggart, Brian (July 31, 2019). "Astros deal for Greinke in Deadline stunner". MLB.com. Retrieved November 21, 2020.
  14. ^ Piecoro, Nick (April 5, 2021). "J.B. Bukauskas Flourishes In Bullpen This Spring". baseballamerica.com. Retrieved April 12, 2021.
  15. ^ Gilbert, Steve (November 20, 2020). "D-backs add 5 to roster, designate Guerra". MLB.com. Retrieved November 21, 2020.
  16. ^ "D-backs recall J.B. Bukauskas from the taxi squad; place Tim Locastro on the 10-day injured list; designated Anthony Swarzak for assignment following yesterday's game". MLB.com. April 18, 2021. Retrieved April 21, 2021.
  17. ^ Romero, Jose M. (April 18, 2021). "Diamondbacks call up pitcher Bukauskas; new CF Heath in lineup on first day with team". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved April 21, 2021.
  18. ^ "To be continued: D-backs and Reds suspended in 8th". Reuters. April 20, 2021. Retrieved April 21, 2021.
  19. ^ Piecoro, Nick (April 20, 2021). "Conditions play in Arizona Diamondbacks' favor before rain halts game vs. Cincinnati Reds". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved April 21, 2021.
  20. ^ Lee, Tariq (April 15, 2014). "Blistering fastball has Stone Bridge RHP JB Bukauskas rocketing up MLB draft boards". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 20, 2016.
  21. ^ Wells, Adam (June 7, 2014). "Jacob Bukauskas: Prospect Profile for Arizona Diamondbacks' 20th-Round Pick". Bleacher Report. Retrieved April 20, 2016.
  22. ^ Gritėnas, Paulius (June 13, 2017). "Lietuvių kilmės metikas J.B.Bukauskas tapo 15-uoju MLB naujokų biržos šaukimu". 15min.lt (in Lithuanian). Retrieved July 20, 2017.