Eight JUCO players taken on second day of MLB draft
Fred Ford was not on any of the top-prospect lists, but he quickly caught the eyes of the scouts.
The Jefferson (Mo.) College first baseman moved up the Major League Baseball draft board after his all-tournament performance during the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series last week.
Ford was drafted Tuesday afternoon in the seventh round by the Kansas City Royals. He was the 223rd overall pick.
“He got picked up because of what he did out there in GJ,” Jefferson coach Sam Carel said. “When we returned home, Kansas City wanted to fly him out there the next day.”
Ford was one of eight draftees, chosen in rounds 2 to 15 Tuesday, who played in the 2012 Alpine Bank Junior College World Series. The draft continues today with rounds 16 through 40.
Polk State (Fla.) College pitcher Alec Asher was taken in the fourth round by the Texas Rangers. He was the 156th overall player taken in the draft.
Western Nevada College pitcher Dylan Baker was selected by the Cleveland Indians in the fifth round as the 173rd overall pick.
Ford was the next JUCO World Series participant to come off the board. He hit .400 with three home runs and 10 RBI in four games in Grand Junction.
“We knew the possibility of the draft coming up,” Ford said. “We took a step back, looked at our options and what was on our plate. We couldn’t be happier. Got a lot of family.”
Ford had signed to go to Western Kentucky University, but he said he’s ready to start his professional career.
“We talked about it. I was ready,” he said. “I’m an athletic kid. I can run well and have a strong arm. We could take advantage of me running around the outfield.”
Ford said he likely will be assigned to the Royals’ rookie league team in Idaho Falls, Idaho, and play against the Grand Junction Rockies in the Pioneer League.
“It would be great (to return to Suplizio Field),” he said. “I love it out there. Grand Junction is one of the top 10 places I’ve been in my life. Amazing.”
San Jacinto (Texas) College-North pitcher Daniel Stumpf, who was the JUCO World Series outstanding pitcher, was selected by the Royals in the ninth round.
“It’s crazy; I was freaking out for a while,” Stumpf said. “I was getting phone calls.”
He had a feeling he’d be drafted and was prepared to negotiate a contract.
“I told him what I wanted,” Stumpf said. “I said, ‘I want off the boards, let’s make this happen.’
“I was excited to be in the draft. I’m thrilled where I’m at. I’m planning on signing.”
Stumpf expects to start with the Royals rookie league team with Ford in Idaho Falls, which means he could be back at Suplizio Field again as a visitor.
“I had some time on Suplizio Field,” Stumpf said. “I’m ready to be back out there, show what I’ve got ... as I did with San Jac.”
Stumpf’s San Jacinto teammate, Anthony Banda, was taken in the 10th round by the Brewers. Milwaukee’s advanced rookie team is in Helena, Mont., and plays the Grand Junction Rockies.
Two more Jefferson players were drafted: pitcher Dalton Friend in the 12th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates, and shortstop Brett Wiley in the 13th round by the St. Louis Cardinals.
Spartanburg Methodist (S.C.) College shortstop Bruce Caldwell was picked by the Cardinals in the 15th round.
Former Spartanburg Methodist outfielder Marty Gantt, now with the College of Charleston, was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the seventh round.
Gantt, who was born without fully developed fingers on his right hand, played in the 2009 JUCO World Series and received the Homa Thomas Sportsmanship award. He was selected the Southern Conference player of the year last month, leading the College of Charleston into the NCAA Division I regional playoffs.