Kansas shortstop McLaughlin rounds out 2017 draft class
LAWRENCE, Kan. – With the 356th pick of the 2017 Major League Baseball (MLB) Draft, the Colorado Rockies selected Kansas baseball’s junior shortstop Matt McLaughlin Wednesday afternoon.
“I am absolutely thrilled for Matt,” head coach Ritch Price said. “With the exception of the two games he missed this season with his wrist, he has played every inning of every game in his three years here. He had an outstanding career and is completely prepared to play at the next level.”
McLaughlin spent his three seasons as a regular at shortstop where he boasted a career .287 batting average. He started 163 of 164 games played and amassed 169 career hits consisting of 31 doubles, two triples and six home runs. He led Kansas with 19 doubles during 2017, which ranked second in the Big 12 Conference. He drew 34 walks and struck out just 31 times in 255 trips to the plate, tallying the 10th-best on-base percentage in the league at .420.
“What a dream come true,” McLaughlin said. “This dream was only possible with the help of the coaching staff at the University of Kansas. They completely molded my game and prepared me for the next level. I am truly grateful for everything the University and staff has done for me these past three years.”
A three-time All-Big 12 Honorable Mention and two-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team honoree, McLaughlin became the everyday starter at shortstop midway through his freshman season after starting at third base. The transition was seamless as he went on to earn Big 12 Newcomer of the Week honors and the No. 9 spot on “SportsCenter” Top-10 plays soon after the move.
A steady improvement at the plate throughout his career, McLaughlin finished his junior season with a team-best .314 average that included 39 RBIs and 41 runs scored. Of his 65 hits, 19 went for doubles, two for triples and three for home runs. He out-slugged everyone on the team by almost 100 points, finishing with a .469 slugging percentage.
“I already took a phone call from the Rockies and they are excited to have Matt in their organization,” Price said. “He is a tremendous Jayhawk and I know he will be successful at the next level.”
McLaughlin rounds out the 2017 draft class as junior reliever Blake Weiman (8th – Pittsburgh Pirates) and senior closer Stephen Villines (10th – New York Mets) heard their names called Tuesday in the top-10 rounds.
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