Kansas Baseball draft round-up

At 6'6, 225 lbs Tanner Poppe was a stand out athlete at Girad High School in football, basketball and baseball. He settled on baseball and committed to KU earlier this spring. Poppe was drafted by the Royals today in the 37th round. (via www.cjonline.com

Kansas had four current players and two signees selected in this week's MLB draft:

David Narodowski - 15th round by Arizona

Shawn Blackwell - 24th round by Texas

Shaeffer Hall - 25th round by the Yankees

Paul Smyth - 35th round by Oakland

Tanner Poppe - 37th round by Kansas City

Brian Heere - 48th round by Boston

Blackwell and Poppe are both incoming freshman pitchers.  Both are highly regarded.  I have no idea what Blackwell's chances of signing with Texas are versus his coming to Kansas in the Fall.  I understand that Poppe was leaning towards coming to Kansas but his selection by Kansas City might complicate that situation.  Poppe is from Girard High School in Kansas, and the Royals have a recent history of paying over slot signing bonuses to late picks, so my confidence in him coming to KU is a bit diminished from where it was prior to the draft.

Two draft eligable players I was surprised not to see selected are Preston Land and Buck Afenir.  Both might sign as undrafted free agents this week.  Preston was drafted by the Twins out of high school and always attracted a fair amount of scouting interest during his time at KU.  After a very impressive freshman season Land's struggled to rediscover his power stroke.  He hit for low average and struck out often during his final three years at KU.  Despite his unimpressive plate numbers I still expected to see him go in the draft due to his size, his good plate judgement and his plus defensive skills at first base. 

Buck Afenir has always hit well for a catcher.  Hell, Buck has always hit well for any position on this field.  His defensive skills improved noticeably during the last year and a half.  Afenir threw out 11 of 34 base stealers this season and was a favorite among the pitching staff due to his game calling, leadership and ability to block balls in the dirt.  I came to believe Buck could stick at catcher in the pros.  Given his offensive skills - he hit .333/.382/.534 his senior year - I fully expected him to be drafted and am rather surprised he was not taken.

A few other players drafted of interest to Jayhawk nation:  Beau Stoker (SS of Bishop Ward HS); Connor Crumbliss(2B Sr. at Emporia State), Stephen Cilladi (C Sr. at Kansas Wesleyan), Chad Duling (SS at Bishop Carroll High School), Michael Morin (RHP at Shawnee Mission South High), Jeffrey Soptic (RHP at Shawnee Mission East High) and Vidal Nuno (LHP at Baker College).  Morin and Soptic were both taken by the Royals.  I love seeing some of the NAIA players like Cilladi and Nuno called.  There are quite a few NAIA teams in the mid-west and often they have more than a few decent players on their rosters.

Major League organizations have until August 15th to come to terms with drafted players.  Should they fail to sign the players before the deadline they go back into the draft pool the following year.

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