2018 MLB Draft: 19 Pac-12 players come off the board Tuesday
Tuesday saw 19 Pac-12 players get their names called by big league clubs on the second day of the 2018 MLB Draft. They join six fellow draftees from the Conference of Champions who were selected in the first two rounds on Monday for a total of 25 through the initial 10 rounds.
It was a Wildcat kind of day on Tuesday with six different Arizona players getting a call from MLB teams. First baseman Alfonso Rivas was the first 'Cat to be drafted, heading to the Oakland A's with the 113th overall pick in the fourth round.
The squad from Tucson would have to wait until the end of the fifth before they would be taken in three of the next six Pac-12 picks. Pitchers Cody Deason (fifth round - No. 162) and catcher Cesar Salazar (seventh round - No. 222) were both scooped up by the Houston Astros, while pitcher Michael Flynn will be headed to the Pittsburgh Pirates (sixth round - No. 174).
Arizona closed out the day with righty Tylor Megill getting a call from the New York Mets in the eighth round (No. 230), while outfield prospect Cal Stevenson was the final Pac-12er to be selected, tabbed by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 10th round (No. 296). Despite not having a single player drafted on Monday, the Wildcats' six selections Tuesday has them tied for the national lead with fellow Wildcat program, Kentucky, and Oregon State.
Most 2018 @MLB draft picks by school in rounds 1-10:
Arizona - 6
Kentucky - 6
Oregon State - 6
Arkansas - 5
Florida - 5
Florida State - 5
Oklahoma - 5
Virginia - 5
Wichita State - 5
Clemson - 4
NC State - 4
NC Wilmington - 4
South Carolina - 4
Texas Tech - 4
— Brian Hennessy (@Brian_ClemsonAC) June 5, 2018
Pat Casey's crew followed up a three-pick day on Monday with a repeat performance Tuesday. The first Beav to receive a big league call was center fielder Steven Kwan, selected 163rd overall in the fifth round by the Cleveland Indians. Just two Pac-12 picks later, teammate Drew Rasmussen (who crafted the storied program's only perfect game back when he was a freshman) was tabbed by the Milwaukee Brewers in the sixth round (No. 185). The Pittsburgh Pirates rounded out the Beavers' day, selecting third baseman Mike Gretler in the 10th round at No. 294.
The San Francisco Giants' eighth-round selection of righty Solomon Bates (No. 226) was USC's first of 2018. The Victorville, California product became a solid starter for the Trojans after transitioning from the bullpen, closing out the season with a 3.14 ERA and a 6-3 record. In the same round as Bates, left fielder Lars Nootbaar was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals at No. 243 overall. The duo gives USC 332 MLB Draft picks all-time.
A pair of Huskies heard their names called, starting with shortstop AJ Graffanino who was taken in the eighth round (No. 232) by the Atlanta Braves. The selection mirrored that of his father, Tony, who was also taken by the Braves back in 1990. Just one round later, he was joined in the ranks of drafted UW players by Willie MacIver. The catcher from Pleasant Hill, California was taken by the Colorado Rockies with the 276th pick. MacIver and Graffanino make it 31 draftees under head coach Lindsay Meggs since 2010.
The Cardinal took the honors of having the first player taken on Tuesday with Tristan Beck heading to the Atlanta Braves in the fourth round at No. 112 overall. The Corona, California native was Stanford's Friday night starter, throwing 90 2/3 innings after missing his entire sophomore season due to injury.
Aaron Shortridge's selection gave Golden Bears their second pick in as many days, receiving a call early Tuesday from the Pirates in the fourth round (No. 114). The Napa, California native was another reliever-turned-starter, accumulating a 5-3 record with a 2.77 ERA and 74 strikeouts in 91 innings this season.
DaShawn Keirsey is the Utes' lone representative thus far, going No. 124 overall in the fourth round to the Minnesota Twins. Keirsey has tallied a .334 career batting average in 154 games at Utah. He becomes the 11th Ute to be selected in the first 10 rounds of the MLB Draft in the Bill Kinneberg era.
The Pac-12's regular-season ERA leader Jake Bird became the first Bruin selected when the Rockies drafted him in the fifth round with the 156th overall pick. Bird amassed a 2.18 earned run average this season with a 7-4 record. 14 of the 16 times he took the mound this qualified as quality starts.
The Arizona Diamondbacks made the Ducks' Matt Mercer their fifth-round pick at No. 159 overall. The righty finished with a 3.77 career ERA, striking out 176 batters in 217 innings, both marks ranking ninth all-time in program history.
The Washington Nationals dipped into the Pac-12's stash of talent, making center fielder Gage Canning the 161st pick. The fifth-round selection led the Pac-12 in hits, batting .369 with a .648 slugging percentage.