By Kurt Martin
Over the past three days, 1,215 players were drafted in the MLB First Year Player Draft. Five of those 1,215 were current and former POWER players. On Saturday, those five players not only joined the most competitive baseball league in the world, but joined the illustrious list of POWER players such as Ryan Wheeler, Bryan Shaw, Aaron Brooks and Mike O’Neil among others to be drafted into the MLB. The five current and former POWER players that were drafted in 2014 are 2B Chesney Young, 1B Ryan Jones, P Tanner Kiest, P Nick Baker and OF Don Clark.
Young, who played for the POWER back in the summer of 2012, will be playing in the Chicago Cubs’ system which is thought of by many experts as one of the best farm systems in baseball. Young, considered one of the best pure hitters in the Atlantic Sun Conference, was drafted in the 14th round out of Mercer Univeristy in Georgia where he hit .348 which was best on the team. The second baseman became the highest Mercer player drafted since Jacob Tanis was taken in the 13th round of the 2011 MLB Draft.
Jones, who played three seasons for the POWER from 2011 through 2013, will be taking his talents to the south side of Chicago playing for the Chicago White Sox’s organization. He was drafted in the 27th round out of Arizona Christian. Jones, the 6th player to be selected out of ACU, had a senior season to remember. The left-handed slugger earned a gold glove in his league and also broke ACU’s single season home run record with 10 long balls. Furthermore, Jones was one of the leaders on his team in multiple categories including slugging percentage (2nd) and on-base percentage (4th).
Kiest, who was one of two players that got drafted from the current POWER roster, will use his power arm to help the Philadelphia Phillies’ system. Kiest, originally drafted by the LA Dodgers, was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 28th round. The power righty played his college ball at Chaffey University in 2014. He owned a 3-5 record with 5.40 ERA but had and outstanding 70 strikeouts in 48.1 innings pitched.
Baker, who played for the POWER in the summers of 2011 and 2012, will be pitching in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ system which is loaded with other power arms. He played his past four years at Chico State and was drafted in the 29th round on Saturday. The Wildcats’ Friday starter, originally from La Quinta, CA, had and ace-like year going 10-2 with a 2.37 ERA in a team high 110 innings pitched. In 2014, he had the third-lowest walks per nine innings in the history of the school. But Baker’s fantastic career did not just span over one season. He is third in career wins, second in career innings pitched and third in career strikeouts at Chico State. Additionally, Baker ranks top-10 in winning percentage, complete games, strikeout-to-walk ratio and starts for a single-season in the school’s record books.
Clark – who was the second of the two players that got picked off of the current POWER roster – will be stealing bases and roaming the outfield for the Kansas City Royals’ organization. Clark, who played his college ball for St. Mary’s in Moraga, CA heard his name called in the 33rd round. In 2014, Clark hit his way to a .297 average with 15 RBI and also stole nine bases; he was considered one of the best defenders in the league. The speedy outfielder had jumped out to a hot start hitting .412 with three stolen bases in four games for the POWER.