The Western Nevada Community College baseball team made more history on Wednesday with its first player to actually play in the program taken in the Major League draft.
Cole Rohrbough has that distinction as he was the 670th pick overall taken by the Atlanta Braves in the 22nd round. Two of WNCC's starting pitchers from this past season were taken in the draft as Mason Tobin was drafted in the 45th round, the 1,356th pick overall, also be the Braves.
Another player who has signed with WNCC, pitcher Kevin Kreier of Foothill in Las Vegas was taken in the 20th round by the Chicago Cubs as the 599th pick overall. WNCC coach D.J. Whittemore said Rohrbough will return to the Wildcats and Kreier will also attend the school.
He said both will enter into draft and follow agreements with their teams, who will own the rights to both players until one week before next year's draft. The teams will monitor Rohrbough's and Kreier's progress and then could try to sign them - at a potentially much higher price if their stock rises. Whittemore said Tobin was still undecided on if he would sign or return to WNCC.
The Cubs actually contacted Kreier on Tuesday and offered to take him in the 10th round with a $65,000 signing bonus, but Kreier turned them down. "He wants to come to school and improve his draft status," Whittemore said.
Whittemore said teams like the athleticism of Kreier, who was also one of the state's best basketball players this past season. With his frame at 6-4, Kreier already has a fastball that reachs 90 miles an hour, so he projects to add a few miles an hour on his fastball as he becomes bigger and stronger.
"He wanted to come to school and improve his draft status," said Whittemore about Kreier coming to WNCC next year.
As a left-handed pitcher who's 6-3 and 210 pounds, it figures that Rohrbough's stock should continue to rise. Within one year, Rohrbough went from being an undrafted player to being taken in the 22nd round.
"He made a huge improvement this year," Whittemore said. "He thinks he can improve that much more next year when he comes back and plays for us."
Rohrbough reached 91 miles an hour with his fastball this year and consistently threw 87-88.
"He's a dream," said Whittemore about Rohrbough as a prospect. "He's got a great fastball. You can't dream it up any better than that."
The Braves also took Tobin in the 15th round last year. Whittemore said Tobin fell this year because of his asking price. Tobin was hoping to be taken in the top five rounds, meaning he would receive a signing bonus in the mid-six figures range.
"Obviously the scouts didn't think that was realistic," Whittemore said. "I don't think his status went down any. He made very high demands.
"He's a better pitcher now than he was a year ago. There was a signability question."
Tobin reached 92 miles an hour this year and consistently threw in the 89-90 range. Tobin is still an attractive prospect due a great deal in part that he doesn't have to work that hard in his delivery.
"Mason has a pretty easy delivery," Whittemore said. "There's not a lot of injury risk with his delivery.
"He's a bulldog on the mound. He's got a great mental approach. He's pretty sound mentally."
A Braves scout has followed Tobin all year, giving him the chance to see WNCC's pitching staff up close, so it wasn't surprising the team took Rohrbough. "Obviously we think we have pretty awesome pitching," Whittemore said.
Rohrbough went 5-3 with a 3.23 earned run average and 52 strikeouts in 56.1 innings this past season. Tobin was 4-4 with a 2.81 E.R.A. and 46 strikeouts in 52.1 innings.
While it's impressive for the program to have two pitchers taken, Whittemore said it was more of a testament to them and pitching coaches Kevin Edwards and Dennis Banks.
On Tuesday, Spanish Springs' Kyle Smit, who had signed with WNCC, was drafted in the fifth round by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Smit expects to sign with the Dodgers for a signing bonus of $200,000.
Among other area high school players who were taken on Wednesday was Truckee outfielder Jason Chapman, who was taken in the 44th round by the Cincinnati Reds.