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.
If you scrolled down to the bottom of the Baseball America story linked in the last post you would have noticed the Ohio Valley and Sun Belt conference previews. But since so many Kentucky teams are included they get their own post on BluGrass Baseball. BA picked Murray State to finish fourth, Morehead State fifth and EKU eighth in the Ohio Valley conference. BA picked WKUto finish third in the Sun Belt. None of the four teams were picked to make the NCAA tournament.
BA selected EKU third baseman Jayson Langfels, Morehead shortstop Drew Lee, outfielder J. D. Ashbrook and utility player Michael Bottoms, and Murray outfielder Daniel Hill and designated hitter Wes Cunningham to the all-OVC team. WKU catcher Matt Rice was named to the all-Sun Belt team. Pleasure Ridge Park alum and Morehead right-handed pitcher Cody Gibson was picked as the No. 4 newcomer in the league. Rice was ranked the No. 3 Sun Belt 2010 draft prospect and WKU left-handed pitcher and Mount-Vernon native Tanner Perkins was ranked the No. 8 newcomer in the league. (Read more, subscription required)
Pleasure Ridge Park alum and University of Arkansas infielder Zack Cox was named a first-team NCAA All-American by Baseball America Friday. The team was voted on by MLB scouting directors. Cox graduated from PRP in 2008 before starring for the Razorbacks as a freshman in 2009. BA selected Cox as the designated hitter on the first team after he batted .271 with 12 home runs and 36 RBI last year.
“We really like his bat,” a National League scouting director told Jim Callis of BA. “We liked it in high school, too. He should hit for average and power. He backspins the ball pretty well. And he should be OK at third base, too, once he gets some more time there.” (Read more, subscription required)
University of Kentucky second baseman Chris Bisson was named to the third-team squad after batting .360 with two home runs and 52 RBI in 2009. (BA All Americans)
Baseball America released its first rankings of the top college and high school prospects for the 2010 draft and UK ace James Paxton ranked number seven on the list of top college prospects. Paxton, who returned to UK after being selected in the first-supplemental round of the 2009 draft by the Toronto Blue Jays, was the only senior to crack the top 25 after.
Louisville native and Pleasure Ridge Park High School alum Zack Cox checked in just behind Paxton at number eight on the list. Cox, who BA ranked the second-best prospect in the Cape Cod League this summer, is a draft-eligible sophomore at Arkansas. He was one of two sophomores to crack the top 25.
No Kentucky high schoolers were ranked in the top 25 high school prospects.