Jun 05, 2018
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Cal Poly junior center fielder Alex McKenna is the 29th Mustang to be drafted in the top 10 rounds since Larry Lee became head coach 16 years ago.
McKenna was the 132nd player selected in the three-day Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, chosen by the defending World Series champion Houston Astros late in the fourth round Tuesday.
Less than an hour later, junior catcher Nick Meyer became the 30th Mustang on Lee's list of draft picks in the first 10 rounds, picked by the New York Mets in the sixth round (170th overall selection).
That gives Cal Poly a pair of draft picks in the first six rounds for the second consecutive year. Last year, right-handed pitcher Spencer Howard was a second-round choice (45th overall) of the Philadelphia Phillies and Erich Uelmen, also a right-handed pitcher, was selected by the Chicago Cubs in the fourth round.
The MLB Draft began Monday with the first two rounds inside the studios of MLB Network in Secaucus, N.J. Rounds 3-10 are being held Tuesday with the final 30 rounds scheduled for Wednesday.
A total of 66 Mustangs coached by Lee have signed professional contracts, including 64 in the last 13 years.
McKenna (pictured at left) was a 38th-round pick of the Minnesota Twins in 2015 as a senior at Alemany High School.
Named to Collegiate Baseball's NCAA Division I All-American third team last week, McKenna became the fifth Mustang to earn Big West Conference Field Player of the Year honors. A two-time All-Big West first team selection, McKenna hit .339 this season and led the Mustangs with 81 hits, 51 runs scored and 15 doubles.
McKenna (6-2, 200, Canyon Country, Calif./Alemany HS) produced 23 multiple-hit games, including his third, fourth and fifth four-hit games of his Mustang career. He had a 12-game hitting streak near the end of the season and also compiled 17- and 20-game reached base streaks.
In Big West games only, McKenna was No. 1 in the conference with a .406 average and led the league overall in runs scored (51), hits (81), plate appearances (276) and at-bats (239) and was second in total bases (121), third in triples (5) and fifth in doubles (15) and average (.339).
McKenna, who committed just one error in 155 fielding chances this spring, earned the team's Ozzie Smith Most Valuable Player Award for the second straight year.
Last two Mustangs to be drafted by the Astros were pitcher Bud Norris (sixth round) and first baseman Jimmy Van Ostrand (eighth round), both in 2006.
Meyer (pictured at right), the 2016 Big West Conference Freshman Field Player of the Year, a second-team All-Big West selection in both 2016 and 2017 and the conference's Defensive Player of the Year and first-team All-Big West honoree last week, earned the team's John Orton Gold Glove award for the third year in a row as the team's best defensive player.
Meyer (6-0, 195, Mission Viejo, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic HS) has thrown out 49 runners trying to steal and has picked off 16 other base runners in his three-year Mustang career. He is No. 3 in the conference and 49th in the nation in toughest to strike out (once every 11.3 at-bats) and, in three Mustang seasons, has struck out just 49 times in 600 at-bats (once every 12.2 at-bats).
Meyer's .344 batting average is No. 3 in the Big West, .001 behind the co-leaders, while his 43 runs scored is No. 2 and his 74 hits No. 4. Over his last 27 games this season, Meyer went 47-for-116 (.405) to lift his average 70 points.
He earned Cal Poly's lone Big West Player of the Week accolade this season following an explosive week as he hit .529 (9-for-17) with five runs scored and three RBI while slugging .706 over the four games against Pepperdine and UC Santa Barbara.
Meyer is the first Mustang to be drafted by the Mets.
Three other Mustangs are potential draft picks, led by senior southpaw Trent Shelton.
A second-team All-Big West selection, Shelton (6-4, 205, Lafayette, Calif./Campolindo HS/Oregon State) captured the team's Mike Krukow Outstanding Pitcher Award after posting a 5-1 win-loss record in Big West games and 6-3 overall with a 3.33 ERA. He was sixth in the conference in wins and strikeouts (68) and eighth in ERA.
Other possible late-round draft picks are junior right-handed pitcher Michael Clark and junior shortstop Kyle Marinconz.
Cal Poly's highest-ever draft pick was catcher John Orton, selected by the then-California Angels as the 25th overall pick in 1987. Two other former Mustangs were first-round compensatory picks — outfielder Mitch Haniger as the 38th overall selection by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2012 and southpaw Garrett Olson, the 48th overall pick by the Baltimore Orioles in 2005.