Rumors of high contract demands began to circulate about Pleasure Ridge Park alum and University of Arkansas third baseman Zack Cox just prior to Monday’s first round of the draft, and those rumors may have contributed to his slide down the draft board. Widely projected as a top 10 pick and the best college bat in the draft, Cox lasted until pick No. 25 when the St. Louis Cardinals selected him. Cox is a draft-eligible sophomore so he could easily return to Arkansas if he doesn’t receive a contract to his liking.
“As far as signability goes, I’m really just focused on winning the national championship, and we can discuss all that later,” Cox told Matthew Leach of MLB.com. “I feel honored to be drafted by the Cardinals. It’s awesome. But right now I just want to focus on the national championship and we can discuss signability later.” Jeff Luhnow, the Cardinals’ vice president of scouting and player development added, “Our sense is that Zack wants to sign. He wants to play baseball, and I think he sees his career moving fairly quickly in getting here, which is what we see for him as well. And I think he wants to sign and we want to sign him.”
Former University of Kentucky left-handed pitcher James Paxton was not selected on the draft’s first night one year after being taken as the Blue Jays’ first-supplemental pick. Paxton notoriously returned to UK only to be suspended pending a NCAA investigation for allegedly violating the NCAA no-agent rule before suing the university and leaving school to prepare for the draft in the independent American Association. Paxton is listed as one of the best 15 players still on the board by Baseball America.