WNCC players could be drafted
The Western Nevada Community College baseball program should be well represented in the Major League Baseball draft, which will be held Tuesday and Wednesday next week.
As many as six current WNCC players and recruits who have signed to play with the Wildcats could be taken in the draft. But WNCC coach D.J. Whittemore doesn’t expect to be hit hard by the draft as he projects losing just one player, who would sign with a Major League team.
That player could be pitcher Mason Tobin, who was among the WNCC players who were drafted last year.
“I would say yes,” said Whittemore when asked if he expects Tobin to sign with a Major League team. “I would say it’s a possibility.”
Two other WNCC pitchers could also be drafted. Whittemore said he expects Cole Rohrbough to be drafted and added he said Josh Brink has a chance to be drafted. Brink was another player who was drafted last year.
Whittemore said he doesn’t expect either player to sign. “I would say they’ll be back to school next year,” he said.
Rohrbough and Brink could be taken as draft and follow prospects where a Major League team will follow their progress and then try to sign them next year if they choose.
A WNCC player who was taken as a draft and follow pick last year by the Detroit Tigers was third baseman Tyson Jaquez. But the Tigers have not actively sought to sign him and Jaquez has signed with the University of Nevada.
Three players who have signed with WNCC could also be drafted: Spanish Springs pitcher Kyle Smit, Reno High shortstop Davis Banks and Kevin Kreier, a right-handed pitcher from Foothill in Las Vegas.
Whittemore said he expects Smit and Kreier to be drafted while there’s a chance Banks could be drafted. But he said he doesn’t expect Smit or Kreier to sign. “I don’t think he’s going to sign,” said Whittemore about Kreier.
Smit is 6-3 and has a 93 mile an hour fastball. “I’d say there’s a slight chance for him to sign,” Whittemore said. “I think the odds are in our favor. He’s set a pretty high number.”
For Smit to sign, it would likely mean a Major League team would have to take him in the first five rounds, which would likely mean a signing bonus of at least $300,000. But Whittemore said he’s heard talk that Smit could be taken anywhere from the third to 10th rounds.
“There’s not a lot of high school arms that throw 93 miles an hour, especially with a frame like that,” Whittemore said.
Banks was also be recruited by Nevada, but was projected to be a third baseman. Now that Jaquez has signed with the Wolf Pack, it looks like Nevada is no longer an option for Banks.
It’s expected that Jaquez will be given a chance to earn the starting spot next year at Nevada. Dayton’s Matt Bowman has filled in admirably at third, which isn’t his natural position, and it’s likely he’ll be moved to the outfield next year.
But Whittemore said Kansas, the Big 12 champion, will make Banks an offer. “I think that would be attractive with any young man,” Whittemore said. “I’d say our chances are about even with him.”
Even though Banks has signed with WNCC, he can still sign with a four-year school as his letter-of-intent with the Wildcats is non-binding with four-year programs. Even with the possible loss of Banks, WNCC has a strong recruiting class in the infield that includes Carson High’s Kevin Schlange and Logan Parsley.
As far as Kreier, Whittemore said, “I don’t think he’s going to sign.”