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Saturday, June 11, 2016

Three KU players selected on final day of MLB draft

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Three Kansas University baseball players were selected Saturday on the final day of the MLB draft.

Senior left-hander Ben Krauth, senior right-hander Sam Gilbert and senior second baseman Colby Wright were picked during Saturday’s conclusion of the three-day draft and joined junior catcher Michael Tinsley as KU’s 2016 draft class.

“It was a great day for our baseball program,” KU coach Ritch Price said. “These young men have given everything to our program and they deserved to hear their name called. Their commitment to the sport, success on the field and work ethic has helped their dreams become a reality.”

Krauth was selected in the 16th round by the Cleveland Indians, Gilbert in the 19th round by the Oakland Athletics, and Wright in the 25th round by the Cincinnati Reds.

Tinsley was picked in the seventh round by Cleveland on Friday.

It was the 11th time in Price’s 14-year tenure the Jayhawks have had at least four players picked in the draft.

“You see so many players out of the Big 12 get drafted each year, and it speaks volumes to the talent of our conference, and our four guys were right up there in the thick of things,” Price said. “It shows we have one of the top conferences in the country, and it was a young conference this season, so it will be even more competitive next year.”

Krauth went 5-3 in Big 12 play and struck out 103 batters on the season. Krauth finished third in the regular season in the Big 12 in innings pitched (92.0), second in strikeouts (103), first in starts (15) and second in complete games (2). He had a 3.33 ERA and a 5-6 overall record.

“I have dreamed about this day ever since I picked up a baseball 16 years ago,” Krauth said. “This day means the world to me and it is really special to be able to spend it with my family and friends. The fact that my best friend at KU (Tinsley) got picked by the same team yesterday makes it that much better. I will be forever grateful to coach Price and (associate head coach/pitching coach) Ryan Graves, who took a chance on me and believed in me every step of the way.”

Gilbert, who came to KU from Fort Scott Community College in 2015 for his junior season, made 45 appearances, striking out 38 batters in 58 innings pitched over two seasons.

“I am excited to continue my baseball career in the Oakland Athletics organization,” Gilbert said. “There is nothing that can explain the feeling of having a lifelong dream come true. I can’t thank the coaches I have had over the years enough for helping me chase my dreams. Being in a program like Kansas and with a head coach like coach Price that is always preaching hard work has been instrumental to my development. The knowledge and ethics the coaching staff has here at the University of Kansas will be something that will always be with me in my future.”

Wright was named second-team all-Big 12 in 2016 after posting a .341 batting average (60-for-176) in 53 games with 13 doubles, four triples, six home runs, 41 RBIs, 38 runs scored, a .563 slugging percentage and a .466 on-base percentage. He finished his KU career with a .309 batting average with 31 doubles, six triples, seven home runs and a .439 on-base percentage.

“Today is truly a dream come true for myself and my family,” Wright said. “I’m extremely humbled to even have an opportunity to play this great game at the professional level and to be able to be around some of my former teammates in Arizona makes it even better. Coach Price and the rest of the coaching staff have helped me immensely over my four-year career. Coach Price runs his program like a professional organization and I think that helps all his players at the next level. What they have taught me not only about baseball but also about life will stay with me forever. I am forever indebted to KU for giving me the opportunity to live out my dream. I am so excited.”

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