When the Major League Baseball draft began on June 13, college baseball players awaited possible selection by teams across the country to live their dream of playing professional baseball. That dream came true for four K-State baseball players: Jordan Floyd, Parker Rigler, Josh Rolette and Jake Scudder.
Jordan Floyd, a standout left hand pitcher who joined in fall 2013, was selected in round 10 at the 300 pick by the Kansas City Royals on June 13. Floyd, a December 2016 social science graduate, did not expect the Royals to choose him.
“I had no idea it would be the Royals,” Floyd said. “I didn’t have a lot of communication with them leading up to the draft unlike a bunch of other teams, but out of high school they talked to me a lot so they kind of knew who I already was.”
During his senior season, Floyd totaled 30 1/3 innings pitched and matched his career high with 30 strikeouts.
A Shawnee Heights High School graduate, Floyd is excited to remain near Topeka to be close to his family. He said his dream of playing professional baseball came true with the Royals.
“[Being drafted] was an amazing feeling and a dream come true to be [with] the Royals,” Floyd said. “My parents were more happy and excited than I was to have my dream come true of playing professional baseball.”
Round 16 arrived June 14, where first baseman Jake Scudder, a Rock Island, Illinois native, was drafted by the Washington Nationals as the 493 pick.
Scudder achieved 13 home runs and batted runs at 62 for the second straight season. His home runs and runs batted in are the highest since 2010 for Wildcat baseball. Scudder joined the Wildcats in 2016 as a transfer from Iowa Western Community College. Scudder is a senior in kinesiology and will graduate this fall.
Parker Rigler, an Edmond, Oklahoma native, was drafted in round 31 and was the 931 pick for the Chicago White Sox. Rigler, most known for pitching the ninth no-hitter in school history, was happy with the way it worked out.
“I had an idea the White Sox were interested because the scout that drafted me, Clay Overcash, has watched me play from high school all the way through college,” Rigler said. “I simply wanted an opportunity, and that’s what I got. I am very happy with the way things worked out.”
With baseball running deep in Rigler’s family, having two uncles who have also played professional baseball, his family was thrilled to see the legacy continue.
“Everyone from my intermediate to extended family was very excited for me,” Rigler said. “I feel very fortunate to have that much support.”
Rigler joined the Wildcats in 2016 as a transfer from Cowley College. He has also been named National Pitcher of the Week by Collegiate Baseball. He is a senior in business management and will graduate this fall.
Selected by the Cleveland Indians, Josh Rolette, a Shawnee, Oklahoma native, came in at round 39, the 1182 pick and the eighth in Wildcat history to be drafted by Cleveland.
In 2015, Rolette was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 18th round but declined and chose to attend K-State.
Rolette was named Freshman All-American by the Collegiate Baseball newspaper in 2016 after he hit six home runs and 34 runs batted in.
Rolette, who has just finished his sophomore season, has chosen to return to school for his junior year in lieu of signing his contract. Rolette was eligible for the draft based on age, according to Chris Brown, assistant director of communications at K-State Athletics.
Brad Hill, head K-State baseball coach, has now coached 14 seasons at K-State and has had multiple players drafted into the MLB. Hill has now coached 45 MLB selections and is an all-time wins leader.
Hill, excited for the four individuals, will keep tabs on them to monitor their progress.
“I was so excited for them,” Hill said. “It’s a great opportunity. It doesn’t matter if you’re the first or the last pick, you’re excited. [I will watch them] progress in the system and perform at each level. As a coach, you take great pride and see success.”
As the next season rolls in, Hill said the four men who were drafted have left their own legacies in the K-State baseball program.
“I think they leave a legacy just by being drafted,” Hill said. “When they get back from getting drafted, they get to answer the questions of what it was like.”