It took three days and 50 rounds to get through 1,530 selections in the 2011 MLB Draft. Shockingly, Kentucky baseball's Thomas McCarthy wasn't one of them.
Six UK baseball players, which includes Alex Meyer (first round), Chad Wright (ninth round), Braden Kapteyn (15th round), Taylor Black (16th round), Jordan Cooper (23rd round) and Michael Williams (37th round), were selected in this year's MLB Draft. But outside of Meyer, none of them were as good as McCarthy this past year.
Although Kentucky stumbled to a 25-30 record this year, McCarthy was one of the best players in the talent-rich Southeastern Conference. The third baseman was third in the league in batting with a .371 clip.
In addition to batting average, McCarthy led UK in hits (78), doubles (19), slugging (.581), two-out hits (31) and two-out RBI (20) en route to first-team All-SEC honors. McCarthy hit .411 in SEC play and finished the season on a 10-game hitting streak (26 for 43).
And it isn't as if McCarthy is a one-year wonder. In 2010, as a sophomore at Feather River College, he batted .415 with 59 hits, 39 runs, 14 doubles, three homers and 36 RBI.
That's why it's so surprising that McCarthy wasn't called over the last three days. It's not that McCarthy was projected to go in the top half of the draft, but to slip through 1,530 picks without a single team selecting this guy is pretty surprising.
While head coach Gary Henderson would have rather had his star offensive player hear his name called, it likely means good things for the team next year. McCarthy could still very well forego his senior season and pursue his pro dreams by way of free agency, but going undrafted will likely convince McCarthy to return to school next season.
If that holds true, Henderson will have a stud to build around at the hot corner.
Although Meyer, Wright, Kapteyn, Cooper and Williams were all selected in the draft, as underclassmen, they can still return to UK. If a few of them return and join McCarthy -- not to mention some or all of seven drafted signees -- on next year's team, Kentucky could be in store for a quick turnaround.