Five players with WNC ties taken in draft
When it comes to the Major League Baseball Draft, it just turned out to be another banner year for the Western Nevada College baseball program.
WNC had five players with ties to the program taken in the draft on Saturday: Luke Eubank, 15th round, Cleveland Indians; Andrew Woeck, 31st round, Tampa Bay Rays; Taylor Smart, 26th round, Seattle Mariners; Brandon Show, 38th round, Boston Red Sox; Conor Harber, 40th round, Tampa Bay.
It’s the second-most players with WNC ties drafted in one year, only behind 2011 when seven players with WNC ties were drafted. It’s also the 10th straight year — every year the program has existed — that WNC has had a player drafted.
Actually, WNC had players drafted before it ever took the field. as in 2005, the Wildcats had players drafted they recruited for their inaugural 2006 season.
“I think it’s a great tribute to the players in our program,” WNC coach D.J. Whittemore said. “Obviously, we recruit top-tier talent.”
Two of the players — Eubank and Smart — should sign. Eubank, a right-handed pitcher, played with WNC in 2013 and Oxnard (Calif.) Community College in 2014. As a 15th round draft choice, Eubank is in line receive a singing bonus of $60,000 to $80,000.
Even though Eubank has signed with the University of Hawaii, Whittemore said he expects him to sign with Cleveland. Smart will also sign since he’s completed his senior year at Tennessee. Smart, a middle infielder and a 2012 WNC graduate, hit .292 with four home runs, 29 RBI and 37 runs with Tennessee in 2014.
Woeck, a right-handed relief pitcher at North Carolina State is a 2012 WNC graduate.
Woeck has had an outstanding career with the Wolfpack, going 9-2 over two seasons. This past season, he went 2-1 with a 2.17 earned run average with 41 strikeouts in 29 innings.
Woeck’s career at N.C. State should continue as his 2014 season was cut short by Tommy John surgery. Woeck appealed for a fifth year of eligibility and was granted that eligibility for 2015 by the NCAA.
“I would be surprised if he signed,” said Whittemore about Woeck signing with the Rays.
It’s the second straight year Harber has been drafted by a Major League team as he was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 38th round last year. But Harber will almost certainly go on to play with the University of Oregon where he has signed.
Harber concluded his banner career at WNC with his second straight All-American selection as he was a third-team choice this past season after going 8-0 with a 2.49 ERA. Teams may have felt that Harber wasn’t signable, given the fact he ws only a sophomore and had the scholarship offer at Oregon waiting for him.
Show, a right-handed pitcher and a 2013 WNC graduate, is expected to return for his final year at the University of San Diego.