Three Bat ‘Cats have now heard their names called in the 2021 MLB Draft.
The excitement began on Sunday night during the first round, when incoming Kentucky Baseball commit and 18-year-old Jackson Merrill was taken in the first round with the 27th overall pick by the San Diego Padres, and it continued through Monday with two current Wildcats getting the call up to the majors.
During day two of the draft, Kentucky outfielder John Rhodes went in the third round with the 76th overall selection to the Baltimore Orioles, which would be a significant blow to next season’s offense for the ‘Cats. To complicate matters even further, another key outfielder, Austin Schultz, was just drafted in the 10th round with the 285th overall pick by the Detroit Tigers.
Kentucky has now produced 26 total MLB draft picks since head coach Nick Mingione took over in 2017, including 15 that went in the first 10 rounds and six that went within the first 90 selections.
From the heartland to the Bluegrass to Motown!
— Kentucky Baseball (@UKBaseball) July 12, 2021
Schultz, a 5-foot-9 rising senior, came into the 2021 season as a Second-Team Preseason All-American as he went on to bat .329 with a team-high 71 hits. As a sophomore in 2020, he earned Second-Team All-American honors during a COVID-19 shortened season. 2021 was a bit of a down year for Schultz considering his expectations coming into it, but he started all 52 games for Kentucky, scored the second-most runs on the team with 46, and was second in the SEC in total stolen bases with 22.
He’ll still have the option to return to Lexington for at least one more season, but MLB.com has Schultz’s signing bonus worth around $148k.