Kentucky junior southpaw Jerad Grundy, who posted a pair of wins and a 1.50 ERA in two postseason starts in 2012, has elected to turn down the Minnesota Twins as a 27th round pick in the MLB Draft to return to UK for his senior season, he announced on Friday afternoon.
A native of Johnsburg, Ill., Grundy was a 27th-round selection of the Twins in the MLB Draft in June, part of a UK school-record nine players picked, marking the second-most selections from one school in the nation.
“We are thrilled that Jerad has elected to return to Kentucky for his senior season,” UK head coach Gary Henderson said. “Jerad had a tremendous first year here in Lexington and was a key part of one of the best pitching staffs in UK history. Jerad owns a great work ethic, is a tremendous team leader and has a great passion to improve. His decision to return to school will help him continue to progress in the best conference in the nation, will help further his development for professional baseball and will help him finish his degree.”
Grundy is the ninth Wildcat to be drafted out of UK as a junior to elect to return to school for their senior seasons in the last six years. Among the players who have improved their draft positions by returning to UK include MLB outfielder Collin Cowgill (29th round in 2007, fifth round in 2008), Sawyer Carroll (18th round in 2007, third round in 2008), Scott Green (15th round in 2007, third round in 2008), Taylor Black (28th round in 2010, 16th round in 2011), Chris Rusin (23rd round in 2008, fourth round in 2009), Michael Williams (37th round in 2011, 30th round in 2012) and Sean Coughlin (42nd round in 2006, 13th round in 2007).
The 6-foot-1, 200-pound lefty was drafted for the third time in the last four years, transferring from Miami (Fla.) and Heartland College to Kentucky, where he helped UK to a school-record 45 win season as the Saturday starter. Grundy made 16 weekend starts for the Wildcats in 2012, owning a 6-3 record and a 3.78 ERA. He worked 85.2 innings, allowing 79 hits and 36 walks, striking out 63.
Grundy starred during the postseason for UK, posting a 2-0 mark and a 1.50 ERA in his two starts, striking out 15 in 12 innings. In 2012, he tossed six quality starts, owning a staggering 5-1 record and a 1.36 ERA in those starts. He had a 3.03 ERA over his final six starts of 2012 and without a five-start stretch in the middle of the year, owned a 6-2 record and a 2.89 ERA in 11 starts. Grundy, combined with weekend starters Taylor Rogers and Corey Littrell, helped UK set new school records in nearly every pitching category, including strikeouts and opponent average, ranking second in UK history with a 3.41 team ERA.
Grundy began his collegiate career at Miami, where he pitched in nine games with two starts, posting a 2-0 mark and a 3.57 ERA. He then transferred to Heartland with UK outfielder Zac Zellers, striking out 70 in 62 innings, owning a 7-3 mark and a 3.77 ERA.
He is currently in the Cape Cod League with Orleans and has made four starts, owning a 1-1 record and a 4.50 ERA. Grundy has hurled 20 innings, allowed 18 hits and five walks, striking out 17. He ranks ninth in the CCBL with 20 innings tossed.
The Wildcats had a total of nine members of the 2012 roster picked in the MLB Draft, eclipsing the previous school record of seven draft picks in 2008. Since UK won the 2006 Southeastern Conference Championship, a total of 51 UK players have been drafted or signed a minor league contract, a staggering total of 7.29 MLB Draft picks per year. UK ranked second in the NCAA in draft picks from one school in 2012 and were just two picks shy of the SEC record of 11 picks from Vanderbilt in 2011. UK’s 2013 roster has an NCAA-leading nine players either in the Cape Cod League or playing for Team USA.
ALL FIVE SIGNEES TURN DOWN MLB DRAFT TO ATTEND UK
Kentucky didn’t just get great news in the return of southpaw Jerad Grundy, as the Wildcats will also welcome all five of their drafted newcomers to campus, as the five players have elected to attend UK for their collegiate careers and postpone professional baseball.
UK’s five newcomers include catcher Zach Arnold, righty Kyle Cody, left-hander Chase Mullins, catcher Casey Schroeder and right-hander Matt Pope. In 2011, UK had a school-record seven signees drafted in the MLB Draft with all seven electing to attend Kentucky.
Schroeder, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound catcher out of Ottawa-Glandorf High School (Ohio), was UK’s highest drafted signee, going to the St. Louis Cardinals in the 21st round (No. 690 overall).
A decorated local product, Mullins - a 6-foot-9 southpaw out of Paris, Ky., - was picked by the Texas Rangers in the 24th round (No. 756).
Arnold, a 6-foot-2 catcher out of Franklin County High School, was tabbed 830th overall in the 27th round by the New York Mets.
Cody is a 6-foot-6 righty out of Central Catholic High School (Wis.) picked by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 33rd round (No. 1028 overall).
Pope, a 6-foot-6, 225-pound right-hander out of Matthew Science Hill High School (Tenn.), was UK’s final signee drafted, going to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 38th round (No. 1156 overall).
2013 Drafted Returnees
Greg Fettes, C (43rd round in 2011; Tigers)
Jerad Grundy, LHP (27th round in 2012; Twins)
Max Kuhn, IF (24th round in 2011; Athletics)
Corey Littrell, LHP (35th round in 2010; Nationals)
Taylor Martin, RHP (41st round in 2011; Rockies)
A.J. Reed, LHP/1B (25th round in 2011; Mets)
Matt Reida, IF (47th round in 2010; White Sox)
J.T. Riddle, IF (35th round in 2010; Red Sox)
Chandler Shepherd, RHP (41st round in 2011; White Sox)
Lucas Witt, OF (37th round in 2010; Dodgers)
2013 Drafted Newcomers
Zach Arnold, C (27th round; Mets)
Kyle Cody, RHP (33rd round; Phillies)
Chase Mullins, LHP (24th round; Rangers)
Matt Pope, RHP (38th round; Pirates)
Casey Schroeder, C (21st round; Cardinals)