Seven Signees Drafted in MLB Draft

June 11, 2009


SECAUCUS, N.J. -- A total of four Kentucky baseball players and seven signees were drafted in the 2009 MLB Draft, it was announced.

Kentucky had four of its veteran players drafted in the MLB Draft, marking the fourth consecutive season four or more Wildcats were drafted, a first in program history. Over the last four drafts, UK has had a total of 22 players selected in the MLB draft, including seven top-five selections. This season, lefties James Paxton and Chris Rusin went in the first four rounds, with Paxton becoming UK's first, first-round selection since 2008 World Series Champion Joe Blanton in 2002. UK set the school record with seven draftees in 2008, getting five picked in 2007 and six following the 2006 Southeastern Conference Championship season.

Paxton, a 6-foot-4, 215-pounder from Ladner, British Columbia, was picked in the supplemental first round (37th overall), by the hometown Toronto Blue Jays. Rusin, a native of Canton, Mich., was selected in the fourth round by the Chicago Cubs (140th overall). Sophomore shortstop Chris Wade - a 2009 second-team All-SEC selection - was picked in the 11th round by the Florida Marlins and junior righty Clint Tilford was tabbed in the 31st round by the Colorado Rockies.

Seven of UK's signees were picked in the draft, with Alberta right-handed pitcher Steven Inch - a 6-foot-4, 190-pounder - going in the sixth-round to the Philadelphia Phillies (197th overall). Inch had an excellent 2009 season while playing with the Edmonton Cardinals, posting a 7-1 record and a 1.20 ERA, striking out 49 in 46 innings.

Acclaimed right-hander Jordan Cooper followed in the 17th round, going to the Pittsburg Pirates with the 505th overall pick. Cooper, a 6-foot-3, 195-pound right-hander out of Shelbyville, Tenn., posted a 7-1 record with a 1.47 ERA and five complete games, striking out 80 with 22 hits in 48 innings, with opponents batting for a .139 average. While making a start in the district tournament this summer, Cooper's 130th pitch of the outing was clocked at 94 mph, according to The Tennessean.

Butler County High School graduate Keith Butler, went in the 24th round (729th overall), to the St. Louis Cardinals. Butler, a six-foot, right-handed pitcher, spent the 2009 season playing for Wabash Valley College, posting a 6-2 record and a 2.72 ERA in 20 appearances. Butler tossed 43 innings, allowing 40 hits, while walking 15 and striking out 59.

In the 37th round, left-handed pitcher Taylor Rogers was selected 1106th overall, going to the Baltimore Orioles. Rogers, a 6-foot-3, 175-pounder, earned a 4-3 record with a save and a 3.14 ERA in 2009 while playing for Chatfield High School in Colorado. Rogers worked 42.1 innings in nine starts, walking 19 and striking out 69. This marks the second consecutive year UK head coach Gary Henderson has recruited a top talent out of Colorado, as UK freshman third baseman Andy Burns was a two-time state player of the year for powerhouse Rocky Mountain High School in Fort Collins, Colo.

Later in the 39th round, right-hander Sam Kidd - out of Ohio County High School - was picked with the 1187th overall selection. The 6-foot-2, 180-pounder, was a second-team All-State selection as a junior and led Ohio County to the district title in 2008. A two-way talent, Kidd tallied a 0.88 ERA and a 9-2 record, striking out 97 in 64 innings. At the plate he hit for a .527 average and drove in 30 RBI.

Dynamic catcher Luke Maile was drafted in the 43rd round to the Boston Red Sox (1308th overall). Maile, out of Covington Catholic High School, is regarded as the top high school prospect in the state by Baseball America. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound athletic backstop, has a strong arm and operates with excellent defensive and offensive skills. Entering the draft, Maile was rated as the best high school prospect and the 12th-best prospect in the state by Baseball America, checking in as one of only three high school players among the top 20 prospects in Kentucky. Maile was also recently named Gatorade Kentucky High School Player of the Year.

Football signee Brian Adams, an athletic 6-foot-4, 210-pound wide receiver, was picked by the Cincinnati Reds in the 45th round (1349th overall). Adams, who has been timed as fast at 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash, has played primarily as a quarterback for South Forsyth High School, in Cumming, Ga. Adams has also played wide receiver and defensive back and is projected as a receiver in the collegiate ranks.  Drafted as a center fielder, he was a two-year all-county selection and led his team to the championship game of the state playoffs during his senior season, finishing as the runner-up. He will consider playing both sports at Kentucky.