Williams Drafted by Giants, Seven Signees Picked
SECAUCUS, N.J. -- Kentucky junior catcher Michael Williams has been selected in the 37th round of the 2011 MLB Draft by the San Francisco Giants and a total of seven UK signees were picked, it was announced on Wednesday afternoon.
Williams was the sixth Wildcat selected in the 2011 MLB Draft, with UK falling one selection shy of tying the school record with seven selections, set during the 2008 MLB Draft. UK junior right-hander Alex Meyer became the second-highest draft pick in program history as the No. 23 pick in the first round by the Washington Nationals on Monday night. On Tuesday, UK outfielder Chad Wright (ninth round, Detroit Tigers), Braden Kapteyn (15th round; Boston Red Sox), Taylor Black (16th round; Philadelphia Phillies) and Jordan Cooper (22rd round; Pittsburgh Pirates) were picked.
A native of Knoxville, Tenn., Williams shared the catching duties with UK sophomore Luke Maile in 2011, forming a dynamic backstop tandem. Owning one of the best arms in the nation behind the plate, Williams nailed 16 runners attempting to steal on the year and eight in Meyer's starts. Williams hit .264 with 11 doubles, seven homers and 23 RBI during his 47 starts in 2011, emerging as one of the top hitting catchers in the league. A 6-foot-2, 210-pounder, Williams got hot late in the year, batting a team-high .358 (19-for-53) during the month of April, including five doubles and two homers in 15 starts.
Seven of UK's signees were selected during the draft, including Zionsville (Ind.) shortstop Max Kuhn (24th round; Athletics), Terre Haute (Ind.) left-handed pitcher/first baseman A.J. Reed (25th round; Mets), Western Nevada right-hander Chris Garrison (28th round; Cubs), Lexington Catholic righty Taylor Martin (41st round; Rockies), Lawrence County right-hander Chandler Shepherd (41st round; White Sox), Heartland Community College (Ill.) lefty Jerad Grundy (42nd round; Mets) and Lamphere (Mich.) catcher Gregory Fettes (43rd round; Tigers).
After the Wildcats won the Southeastern Conference Championship in 2006, Kentucky has boasted a bevy of draft selections annually. Since 2006 and including the picks on Tuesday, the Wildcats have had a total of 40 players selected in the MLB Draft or sign a free agent contract. Since 1965, UK has had a total of 152 players drafted or sign a free agent contract, with 26-percent of the 152 total players coming since the 2006 season.
Kentucky Players Picked
Alex Meyer (first round; Nationals)
Chad Wright (ninth round; Tigers)
Braden Kapteyn (15th round; Red Sox)
Taylor Black (16th round; Phillies)
Jordan Cooper (23rd round; Pirates)
Michael Williams (37th round; Giants)
Kentucky Signees Picked
Max Kuhn (24th round; Athletics)
• SS: Zionsville Community HS (Ind.)
A.J. Reed (25th round; Mets)
• LHP/1B: Terre Haute South (Ind.)
Chris Garrison (28th round; Cubs)
• RHP: Western Nevada CC (Nev.)
Taylor Martin (41st round; Rockies)
• RHP: Lexington Catholic HS (Ky.)
Chandler Shepherd (41st round; White Sox)
• RHP: Lawrence County HS (Ky.)
Jerad Grundy (42nd round; Marlins)
• LHP: Heartland CC (Ill.)
Gregory Fettes (43rd round; Tigers)
• C: Lamphere HS (Mich.)
• SEC Freshman Academic Honor Roll (2009)
• New England Collegiate Baseball League Summer All-Star (2010)
• Fourth-best prospect in the NECBL (Baseball America, 2010)
• 37th round draft pick in 2011 (Giants)
Rotated with UK sophomore Luke Maile as the catcher for the Wildcats ... Played in 48 games and made 47 starts for UK, including 31 starts behind the plate, nine start at first base, one start at third base and six starts at the DH ... Hit .264 with 11 doubles, seven homers and 23 RBI, with his bat getting blistering hot down the stretch ... Threw out a startling 16 runners attempting to steal in 38 attempts, nabbing two runners on pickoffs ... Emerged as UK first-round pick Alex Meyer's personal catcher throughout the year and in Meyer's starts alone, Williams threw out eight of 16 runners attempting to steal ... In SEC play alone, hit .282 with five doubles, three homers and 11 RBI ... In non-league games, Williams batted .247 with six doubles, four homers and 12 RBI ... Led UK in hitting in 16 games in April, batting .358 with five doubles and two homers ... Totaled 14 two-out hits and nine two-out RBI ... Collected three-hit games vs. Illinois-Chicago, Cincinnati, Ole Miss, Arkansas and LSU ... Had his first career two-homer game vs. UIC on Feb. 25 ... Went 3-for-4 with a homer and a double in the series opener at LSU as part of the ESPN Thursday Night SEC Game of the Week on April 28.
Named an all-star in the New England Collegiate Baseball League while playing for the Danbury Westerners ... Batted .265 (43-for-162) in 48 games during the summer, including regular and postseason games, in addition to a 1-for-2 outing in the NECBL All-Star game ... Had six doubles, four homers and 17 RBI, drawing 12 walks and striking out 50 ... Also pitched in two games, tossing 1.1 innings and striking out all four hitters he faced, walking four and allowing two hits for a 6.77 ERA.
Played in 16 games with nine starts as a reserve catcher behind fifth-year senior Marcus Nidiffer ... Split time with Luke Maile as the back-up catcher ... Batted .241 (7-for-29) with four doubles and six RBI ... Drew four walks, got hit by four pitches and struck out 11 times ... Appeared in nine SEC games and started four, batting .231 (3-for-13) with a run scored, two doubles and two RBI in conference action ... In his first start of the season vs. Bowling Green, batted 2-for-2 with a double and an RBI, also getting hit by one pitch ... Went 2-for-3 against Evansville on March 9, with two RBI and a double ... Got the start at designated hitter against Florida, Louisville and South Carolina ... Also started behind the plate against Arkansas and Vanderbilt ... Played in 11 games with eight starts in the Valley League, joining UK teammate Mike Kaczmarek on the Covington Lumberjacks.
Served as the back-up catcher in his true freshman campaign, playing in 15 games with seven starting assignments ... Batted .167 (4-for-24) in limited opportunities, with one double, one homer and four RBI ... Got first career start against Indiana State, recording six putouts behind the plate ... Got first career road start at New Orleans ... Charted first career hit and RBI in a pinch-hit at bat against Cincinnati ... Went 1-for-2 with a double off the bench against South Carolina in the series opener ... In his first career SEC start against Georgia, batted 1-for-4 with an RBI ... Had the best game of his career in a start against Lipscomb, going 1-for-3 with two runs, two RBI, one homer and one walk ... Started at Alabama in the series finale, committing first career throwing error on throw to first base off a fielded bunt attempt.
Louisville Slugger High School All-American ... Received a four-star rating by Baseball America ... Named first-team All-State as a senior ... Four-year letterwinner for coach Tommy Pharr at Farragut High School ... Hit .415 with 16 doubles, 10 homers and 62 RBI as a senior ... As a junior, hit .420 with 12 doubles, four homers and 35 RBI ... Led team to the state championship twice and the district championship three time ... Member of the Academic Honor Roll.
Full name is Michael Joseph Williams ... Born April 30, 1990 in Indianapolis, Ind. ... Son of Mike and Elaine ... Has a brother, Nick (18) and a sister, Taylor (16) ... Nick is one of the top pitchers on the Tennessee Volunteers team and struck out Michael looking in their lone at bat against each other in 2011.