Six Kentucky players selected in baseball draft

Published 10:10 pm Tuesday, June 5, 2018

LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) — Kentucky’s baseball program has produced several memorable moments during the past two years. Six players who were an integral part of the team’ success were drafted in the first 10 rounds of the Major League Draft during the past two days.

Pitched Sean Hjelle was selected as the 45th overall pick by the San Francisco Giants Monday night and five of his former teammates were drafted on Tuesday night. The 6-foot-11 right-hander was named the 2017 SEC Player of the Year. Hjelle went 7-5 last season and posted a 3.44 earned run average. Hjelle was 22-10 in his collegiate career and collected 222 strikeouts, ninth in Kentucky history. He also collected eight saves in 2016.

Outfielder Tristan Pompey was taken on the third round by the Miami Marlins on Tuesday, followed by first baseman Kole Cottam, who was selected by the Boston Red Sox in the fourth round and right-handed pitcher Zach Haake was taken in the sixth round by the Kansas City Royals. Utility player Luke Heyer was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the eighth round, while Luke Becker was a ninth-round selection by the San Diego Padres.

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Pompey was the 89th overall pick and batted .335 this season and scored 41 runs and finished with 39 RBIs. Pompey connected on seven home runs this past season.

Cottam was selected No. 130 as a catcher, following a senior campaign that featured 19 home runs, the ninth-most in Kentucky history. He also finished with 51 RBIs.

Haake, the No. 182nd pick served primarily as a starting pitcher and reliever. He made six starting appearances and played in 15 games struck out 36 batters in 34 innings of work on the mound.

Heyer was taken as the 254th player selected in the draft and led the Southeastern Conference in home runs with 18 this season. He was named SEC Player of the Week twice and also received the National Player of the Week honors. He also led the SEC in RBIs with 57 and total bases (140).

Becker, taken as the 261st selection, batted .286 last season and connected on 12 doubles, two triples, and seven homers. He added 38 RBIs and 37 walks.