Mariners select UK's Austin Cousino in 3rd round of draft

June 6, 2014 

Outfielder Austin Cousino, who was the second University of Kentucky player taken in this year's Major League Baseball Draft, came off the board earlier than expected.

The Seattle Mariners took Cousino with the sixth pick of the third round (80th overall) on Friday afternoon.

Before the draft, had him rated as the 182nd-best prospect. The website's scouting report says that "Cousino can state a claim to being the best outfield defender in college baseball and has a reputation as a gamer who gets the most out of his ability."

Cousino batted .308 with four home runs, 15 doubles, four triples and 38 RBI. He stole 19 bases in 20 attempts. He was also named the Southeastern Conference's freshman of the year in 2012 and won a Golden Glove as the nation's best center fielder in 2013.

"Can't wait for the journey to begin," Cousino tweeted after he was selected. "Today was a dream come true."

Astros like Reed's power

Cousino's selection followed teammate A.J. Reed, who the Houston Astros took with the first pick of the second round (42nd overall) late Thursday night.

Reed, a 6-foot-4, 240-pound left-hander who is a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award for the college player of the year, is expected to step in quickly and become one of the organization's top hitters in the minors.

"A.J. Reed kind of speaks for himself," Astros scouting director Mike Elias told on Thursday night. "He's is the SEC Player of the Year, led the nation in home runs in the toughest college baseball conference in the country.

"He's got a real zeal and enthusiasm for the game that's apparent when you watch him play," Elias said. "He had a monster season. He's got a lot of bad speed, tons of power, obviously. We think it's going to play. I think he might have the most raw power in our system once we get him signed."

Reed, who batted .336 with 23 home runs, 73 RBI and a .735 slugging percentage as a junior this past season, said he thinks he'll be a good fit with the Astros.

"I'll be able to add a little bit of power to the organization, and that's a benefit for both of us," Reed told "I think we're going to be able to see eye to eye on a lot of things, and I'm really excited about that."

Houston also drafted the SEC Player of the Year last season — infielder Tony Kemp in the fifth round out of Vanderbilt.

"You're pretty good if you win the SEC Player of the Award," Elias told "I don't think it's a secret we put a lot of stock in what players do during college, especially what they do in the Cape Code League when they're playing with wood and playing against other professional-caliber players. But we also look to make sure they have the tools to make that success resilient once they get into the pro game, and these guys do."

Other selections

■ The Minnesota Twins took University of Louisville closer Nick Burdi in the second round with the 46th overall pick.

Burdi, whose fastball has topped 100 mph, was 3-1 with 16 saves and a 0.54 ERA for the Cardinals this past season. He had 58 strikeouts and 10 walks in 331⁄3 innings.

Another Cardinals star, outfielder Jeff Gardner, was taken by the Washington Nationals in the eighth round. Gardner played in high school at Whitefield Academy in Louisville.

Cole Sturgeon, a Louisville outfielder/pitcher who starred in high school at Owensboro Catholic, was the next-to-last pick of the 10th round by the Boston Red Sox.

■ Boyle County standout Micah Miniard, a 6-foot-7 pitcher who committed to play at Western Kentucky, was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the eighth round.

"I'm thinking about (the draft), but I've just gotta let it happen and then make a decision," Miniard told the Herald-Leader last month.

Final day of draft

The draft will wrap up Saturday with rounds 11 through 40, starting at 1 p.m. with coverage on

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