UK Baseball

Three Kentucky players selected in MLB Draft

Herald-Leader Staff Report

Kentucky's JaVon Shelby guns down a runner in the 5th inning as Kentucky defeated Missouri 7-2 on Saturday May 21, 2016 in Lexington, Ky.
Kentucky's JaVon Shelby guns down a runner in the 5th inning as Kentucky defeated Missouri 7-2 on Saturday May 21, 2016 in Lexington, Ky. mcornelison@herald-leader.com

University of Kentucky juniors Zack Brown and JaVon Shelby became the first two Wildcats selected in this year’s Major League Baseball Draft when they were chosen back-to-back in the fifth round on Friday.

Brown, a right-handed pitcher from Seymour, Ind., was taken by the Milwaukee Brewers with the fifth pick of the fifth round, No. 141 overall.

At No. 142, the Oakland Athletics grabbed Shelby, a third baseman from Tates Creek High School in Lexington.

Kentucky senior Kyle Cody, a right-handed pitcher from Chippewa Falls, Wis., was drafted in the sixth round (No. 189 overall) by the Texas Rangers.

Brown went 2-11 with a 6.98 ERA in 2016 in 14 starts. In 2015, Brown was 6-6 with a team-best 3.48 ERA.

Shelby batted .212 with 12 home runs and 35 RBI in 2016. He started all 54 games he played in for the Wildcats (32-25). He moved to third base in 2016 after earning All-Southeastern Conference honors as a second baseman the year before.

Cody went 6-2 with a 3.35 ERA in 14 starts this season. He was a second-round selection of the Minnesota Twins last year but did not sign.

Three Louisville players were drafted on Friday, bringing the Cardinals’ total to seven. Left-handed pitcher Drew Harrington (No. 80 to Braves) and third baseman Blake Tiberi (No. 100 to Mets) went in the third round. Right-handed pitcher Kyle Funkhouser went in the fourth round to the Tigers at pick No. 115.

Harrington, a junior from Central Hardin High School, is 12-2 with a 2.08 ERA this season for the Cardinals, who will play host to UC Santa Barbara in the NCAA Super Regionals on Saturday. Tiberi, a sophomore from Covington Holy Cross High School, is batting .331 with 17 doubles and nine home runs. Funkhouser, a senior who was drafted No. 35 overall by the Dodgers last season but did not sign, is 9-3 with a 3.86 ERA. He has 95 strikeouts in 93 1/3 innings.

Hopkinsville High School’s Easton McGee, a right-handed pitcher, was drafted in the fourth round (No. 120 overall) by the Tampa Bay Rays.

The last two picks of the 10th round were players from Kentucky colleges. Morehead State senior right-hander Matt Anderson went to the Pittsburgh Pirates with the 315th pick, and Western Kentucky senior third baseman Danny Hudzina went to the St. Louis Cardinals at No. 316.

Anderson, Morehead State’s highest draft pick since former major-leaguer Jon Rauch in 1999 (third round), went 8-3 in 15 starts this season with a 2.85 ERA and a school-record 130 strikeouts in 91 2/3 innings.

Hudzina batted .408 for the Hilltoppers this season with 18 doubles. He struck out just 12 times in 218 at-bats.

The draft wraps up on Saturday with rounds 11-40.

View the MLB Draft tracker.

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