Three Jayhawks Selected on Final Day of MLB Draft
LAWRENCE, Kan. – On the final day of the 2016 Major League Baseball (MLB) Draft, three Kansas baseball players heard their names called Saturday afternoon and have been given the opportunity to continue their careers at the next level.
Senior lefty Ben Krauth, senior righty Sam Gilbert and senior second baseman Colby Wright each were selected during Saturday’s conclusion of the three-day event and joined junior catcher Michael Tinsley as KU’s 2016 MLB Draft Class.
“It was a great day for our baseball program,” head coach Ritch Price said. “These young men have given everything to our program and they deserved to hear their name called. Their commitment to the sport, success on the field and work ethic has helped their dreams become a reality.”
The three men selected Saturday in addition to Friday’s seventh-round draftee in Tinsley, mark the 11th time in Price’s 14-year tenure that the Jayhawks had at least four players picked in the draft. The most players KU has ever had picked in a single draft was seven on three different occasions (1993, 2006 and 2010). The foursome also rounds out a total of 49 Big 12 players selected in this year’s draft.
“You see so many players out of the Big 12 get drafted each year and it speaks volumes to the talent of our conference, and our four guys were right up there in the thick of things,” Price said. “It shows we have one of the top conferences in the country, and it was a young conference this season so it will be even more competitive next year.”
KU baseball players drafted in 2016:
*selected on Friday, June 10.
Ben Krauth | Sr. | LHP | Cleveland Indians
Krauth threw his way to All-Big 12 First Team honors as the cornerstone of the Jayhawk pitching staff in 2016. Every time the southpaw took the ball, Kansas knew it was going to win. In conference games Krauth started, KU posted a 5-3 record. He became just the sixth player since 1955 – first since 2012 – in Kansas history to punch out 100 or more batters in a single season, finishing with the fifth-best total at 103.
His 103 strikeouts pushed his career total to 187 and ranks him No. 5 all-time in KU history with 9.18 strikeouts per nine innings. Those 103 K’s were the most by a Jayhawk since Mike Zagurski fanned a school-record 112 batters in 2005. Krauth averaged six and 1/3 innings per start, tossing seven or more frames in seven of his 15 starts including a complete-game shutout against North Dakota (March 11).
Krauth finished third in the regular season in the Big 12 in innings pitched (92.0), second in strikeouts (103), first in starts (15) and second in complete games (2). He posted a 3.33 ERA, a 5-6 overall record and held opponents to a .251 batting average.
“I have dreamed about this day ever since I picked up a baseball 16 years ago,” Krauth said. “This day means the world to me and it is really special to be able to spend it with my family and friends. The fact that my best friend at KU (Michael Tinsley) got picked by the same team yesterday makes it that much better. I will be forever grateful to coach Price and (associate head coach/pitching coach) Ryan Graves who took a chance on me and believed in me every step of the way.”
Sam Gilbert | Sr. | RHP | Oakland Athletics
Gilbert came to Kansas from Fort Scott Community College in 2015 for his junior season and has been an integral part of the bullpen ever since, serving as the setup man for closer Stephen Villines. In 2016, he appeared in 20 games for Kansas all while battling a back injury during the second half of the season.
In two seasons, Gilbert has made 45 appearances on the hill, striking out 38 batters in 58 innings pitched. A converted pitcher from a position player, the hurler has an electric arm and throws his fastball in the low to mid-90s.
“I am excited to continue my baseball career in the Oakland Athletics organization,” Gilbert said. “There is nothing that can explain the feeling of having a lifelong dream come true. I can’t thank the coaches I have had over the years enough for helping me chase my dreams. Being in a program like Kansas and with a head coach like coach Price that is always preaching hard work has been instrumental to my development. The knowledge and ethics the coaching staff has here at the University of Kansas will be something that will always be with me in my future.”
Colby Wright | Sr. | 2B | Cincinnati Reds
Wright earned his 2016 All-Big 12 Second Team honors after posting a .341 batting average (60-for-176) in 53 games with 13 doubles, four triples, six home runs, 41 RBIs, 38 runs scored, a .563 slugging percentage and a .466 on-base percentage. He ranked third in on-base percentage and fourth in slugging percentage in the conference while leading the way with 18 hit-by-pitches.
During his senior season, Wright posted the highest slugging percentage by a Jayhawk since 2009, the highest on-base percentage since 2010 and pushed his career hit-by-pitch total to 43 ranking him fifth all-time at KU. He finished his career with a .309 batting average with 31 doubles, six triples, seven home runs and a career .439 on-base percentage.
“Today is truly a dream come true for myself and my family,” Wright said. “I’m extremely humbled to even have an opportunity to play this great game at the professional level and to be able to be around some of my former teammates in Arizona makes it even better. Coach Price and the rest of the coaching staff have helped me immensely over my four-year career. Coach Price runs his program like a professional organization and I think that helps all his players at the next level. What they have taught me not only about baseball but also about life will stay with me forever. I am forever indebted to KU for giving me the opportunity to live out my dream. I am so excited.”
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.