K-State baseball finds success in 2021 MLB draft

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Sophomore pitcher Jordan Wicks pitches the ball during the season opener against Western Michigan on Feb. 26 at Tointon Family Stadium. (Archive photo by Sophie Osborn | Collegian Media Group)

After a memorable season, five Kansas State baseball players will move on to MLB organizations after being drafted or signing as undrafted free agents.

Ahead of the 2021 MLB draft, plenty of hype was surrounding sophomore left-handed pitcher Jordan Wicks. The Conway, Arkansas, native had a strong year, breaking the K-State record for strikeouts in a season (118) and all-time strikeouts (230).

Wicks earned dozens of accolades in his three seasons at Kansas State, including Big 12 Freshman of the Year in 2019 and National Pitcher of the Week and All-America Third Team in 2021. His career 2.85 ERA places him sixth all-time in program history.

Wicks became the first player in K-State baseball history to get drafted in the first round of the MLB draft when the Chicago Cubs selected him with the 21st overall pick.

The next player drafted from K-State was sophomore right-handed pitcher Carson Seymour. The Temecula, California native had a rough start to the season as a starter before finding his groove as a relief pitcher later in the season.

Despite early struggles, Seymour impressed scouts and was drafted in the sixth round — pick No. 172 — by the New York Mets.

Junior Zach Kokoska from Latrobe, Pennsylvania, was the only hitter selected in the draft this year, grabbed by the Colorado Rockies in the tenth round with the 290th overall pick.

The left-handed outfielder had a long career with the Wildcats but saw the most success in his final season. His 41-game on-base streak was the second-longest in program history, his efforts this season earning him All-Big 12 Second Team honors and a spot on the Big 12 Championship All-Tournament Team.

The final Wildcat drafted this year was sophomore left-handed pitcher Eric Torres. Torres — like Kokoska — was selected to the Big 12 Championship All-Tournament Team this postseason after striking out 14 batters in 6.2 innings.

The Milwaukee, Wisconsin native pitched 39.1 relief innings for K-State this season, posting an impressive 2.75 ERA with 58 strikeouts while only walking nine batters the whole season. Torres was picked in the 14th round — No. 411 overall — and will head to the Los Angeles Angels organization.

The last Wildcat heading to a major organization is senior Kasey Ford. After five seasons, “Big Country” posted a 5.41 career ERA with 163 strikeouts. The Bella Vista, Arkansas, native went undrafted but signed with the Houston Astros after the draft concluded.

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