Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Five Spartans could be selected in MLB First-Year Player Draft

Last season, two MSU players joined the minor-league baseball ranks. This weekend, as many as five more could be added to the list. 

Jimmy Pickens is one of five Spartans who could hear their named called during the 2014 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, which is scheduled to begin tonight and will end Saturday.

Junior outfielder Pickens was one of MSU's top batters last season, hitting at a .318 clip with 35 RBIs. He was often one of the most consistent players at the plate, and head coach Jake Boss Jr. said he can see Pickens go anywhere between the eighth and tenth round.

"Some guys might like him higher, some guys might like him lower, depends on the organization," Boss said.

Junior right-hander Mick VanVossen, junior first baseman Blaise Salter, who hit a .317 average with 50 RBIs, and redshirt junior left-hander Jeff Kinley are all in the mix for this weekend.

Senior catcher Joel Fisher, who caught fire in the Big Ten Tournament, could also be drafted. Boss said Fisher's defensive acumen could help him stand out in the later rounds.

"His defensive tools are outstanding," Boss said. "He's a good as a catch-and-throw guy as there is in the country. He offensively kind of went in spurts and he was on a hot streak there in the Big Ten Tournament. If he develops some consistency, he can be valuable for an organization."

Boss said the opportunity his players have this weekend is a great one, and he looks forward to their forthcoming chance at joining the big leagues.

"It's a proud moment," Boss said of when one of his players gets drafted. "We're with these guys everyday and see them work. You get to know these kids and they're good kids and you really pull for them. It's fun to watch guys improve and improve because of all the hard work they put in."

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