LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- A school-record seven Kentucky players and nine signees were selected in the 2008 MLB Draft, including a program-high four in the first 10 rounds, held on Friday and Saturday.
Scott Green, a third-round pick of the Detroit Tigers, became the highest UK selection since Joe Blanton (2002, 1st). Tigers nabbed Green with the 99th pick in the third round, Sawyer Carroll was picked by the San Diego Padres in the supplemental third round with the 111th pick, and Collin Cowgill with the 168th pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the fifth round. Senior Andrew Albers was picked in the 10th round by the Padres with the 315th pick, giving UK a school-best four in the first 10 rounds.
The 1992 duo of second-round pitching selections of Rod Henderson (Expos) and Mark Thompson (Rockies) mark the only two players drafted higher in the same year in UK history. In 2006, Ryan Strieby (4th) and John Shelby (5th) marked the highest pair of a school-record six member draft class. UK had three players drafted in the top 10 rounds in 1997, Scott Downs (3rd), Matt Borno (8th), and Kenny Miller (9th).
Senior infielder Ryan Wilkes was selected in the 23rd round by the New York Yankees, the 710th pick and lefty Chris Rusin was tabbed as the 23rd round pick of the Oakland Athletics. Senior Tyler Howe rounded out the UK players drafted, picked by the Chicago White Sox in the 41st round, with the 1244th pick. Howe, Wilkes and Rusin had never been drafted before 2008.
UK’s nine signees included second-round selections Seth Lintz and Robbie Ross. Lintz went 53rd to the Brewers and Ross was selected by the Rangers with the 57th pick. Infielder Corban Joseph was picked in the fourth round by the Yankees and right-hander Daniel Webb went in the 12th round to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Pitcher Blake Brewer (11th, Marlins), right-hander Daniel Webb (20th, Red Sox), infielder Andy Burns (25th, Rockies), Braden Kapteyn (39th, Giants) and Cory Farris (43rd, White Sox) round out UK’s signees picked.
Green becomes the third Wildcat to be selected by the Detroit Tigers in the last three years, joining Strieby and 2006 senior leader, Michael Bertram. Green, a 6-foot-8, 245-pound righty, appeared in 20 games with eight starts in 2008, earning a 6-4 record and a 4.76 ERA, striking out 64 in 56.2 innings, adding two saves. Green helped lead the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox of the Cape Cod League to the league title in the summer, going 3-1 with a 1.56 ERA in nine games and eight starts.
Green was picked for the first time in his career in 2007 by the Red Sox in the 15th round.
Carroll, a first-team All-America selection, led the Southeastern Conference with a .419 average, belting 19 home runs and driving in a school-record 83 RBI. Finishing his two-year career as Kentucky’s career record holder for batting average (.386), Carroll added 22 doubles and a club-high three triples in 2008, swiping 12-of-12 bases. Carroll, a native of Henryetta, Okla., drew 44 walks and struck out just 33 times in 2008. In 2007, Carroll led the SEC with 23 doubles, adding three homers and 56 RBI, functioning as UK’s everyday first baseman.
Carroll, a 6-foot-4, 215-pounder, was an 18th round selection of the Washington Nationals in 2007.
Cowgill had a monster season after redshirting in 2007 due to injury. A second-team All-American and first-team All-SEC selection, Cowgill hit .361 with 15 doubles, two triples and 19 home runs, driving in 60 RBI and swiping 23-of-27 bases. A five-tool player, Cowgill added seven outfield assists, five coming throwing runners out at the plate. Cowgill set a new UK season record, scoring 80 runs in 2008.
Before earning All-Star honors in the Cape Cod League during the summer, Cowgill was a 29th round MLB Draft pick of the Oakland Athletics in 2007.
Albers, a native of North Battleford, Saskatchewan, led UK with 31 appearances in 2008, earning a 2.40 ERA and a 7-4 record, adding five saves. The senior lefty worked in 56.1 innings, striking out 64, and holding opponents to a .226 batting average. With 81 career appearances, Albers ranks fifth all-time and his 20 career wins is tied for fourth all-time. With 12 career saves, Albers ranks third all-time in UK history.
A 12th-round draft pick out of high school in 2004, Albers was the physical and vocal leader of the pitching staff throughout his career, functioning as a weekend starter and a closer during his four-year tenure. Albers started a team-high 15 games in 2007 and 14 games in 2005, appearing in 21 games in 2006 as the closer.
Albers is the fourth Wildcat to be picked in the top 10 rounds in 2008, marking the most UK players picked in the top 10 rounds in program history.
A switch-hitting middle infielder, Wilkes ranked sixth in the SEC in assists and fifth in double plays, fielding second base at a perfect 1.000 clip. Wilkes, a native of Harrison, Tenn., ranked fourth in the SEC with a .374 average, adding nine homers and 36 RBI.
As the first first-team All-SEC pitching selection at UK since Scott Downs in 1997, Rusin has a career year in 2008, earning a 3.33 ERA and a 6-3 record in 83.2 innings, striking out 65. Rusin, a junior and native of Canton, Mich., made quality starts nine of his 13 times out in 2008.
Howe, a catching and right-handed pitching prospect, was selected in the 41st round by the Chicago White Sox. Howe played in 47 games with 131 at bats in 2008, hitting .290 with nine doubles, four homers and 24 RBI. Howe led the SEC and set a new UK school record with 27 hit by pitches. On the mound, Howe flashed high velocity with the fastball, appearing in eight games with a 3.86 ERA, earning two saves in 4.2 innings, striking out five.