Although no Wildcats were taken on day one of the MLB Draft, K-State had two players selected today: ace starter Nate Griep and incoming JUCO transfer second baseman Willie Calhoun.
Both players would be big losses for the program at this juncture. Griep, taken in the eighth round by the Milwaukee Brewers with the 241st overall pick, was the glue that held the rotation together this spring. The right-handed redshirt soph was 6-3, 2;63 in all games and posted an eye-popping 1.96 ERA in Big 12 play. Should he sign -- and there's no reason why he shouldn't -- he would join 2014 draftee Mitch Meyer in the Brewers system and would also leave a gaping hole in the rotation.
Calhoun, drafted 132nd overall in the fourth round by the Los Angeles Dodgers, becomes the highest signee to be drafted under Brad Hill. Calhoun hit .432 and led the nation's JUCO players in home runs this year with 31, slugging an outrageous .952 on the season. He was an NJCAA first-team All-America selection at Yavapai Junior College after transferring there from Arizona. For the second year in a row, a Wildcat signee led the NJCAA in home runs, and was then drafted away before ever starting classes in Manhattan; Connor Goedert was a 15th-round pick by Houston last year and chose to sign. Calhoun will very likely take the same path.
So it's a bittersweet moment for K-State. Getting players drafted helps the program, of course. But suddenly losing the squad's best pitcher and likely their best bat next season will sting, especially when the program is struggling to rebuild after attrition cut short K-State's momentum from the 2013 Super-Regional appearance. We'll have to see what Hill has up his sleeve to fill the gaps.