Several current and future Eastern Kentucky University baseball players could hear their name called during the 2016 Major League Baseball Draft this week.
The first round of the draft will be on Thursday. The remaining 39 rounds will be held on Friday and Saturday. The entire draft will air live on the MLB Network.
Senior outfielder Kyle Nowlin and senior third baseman Mandy Alvarez could be drafted in the first 15 rounds. Perfect Game list Nowlin at number 302 and Alvarez at number 333 on its list of top draft prospects.
Including competitive balance picks, there will be 106 selections through the first three rounds. If Perfect Game’s prediction holds true, Nowlin could be a 10th round draft pick and Alvarez could go off the board in the 11th round.
The Baseball Draft Report had this to say about the Miami, Florida native – “Alvarez does so much well at the plate that I think he’ll make whatever team is willing to bet on his defense remaining solid at the hot corner very happy.”
Baseball America list both Colonels among its top-500 draft prospects.
Nowlin, a native of Harrison, Ohio, hit .300 this season with 21 home runs, 61 RBIs and 50 walks. He was drafted last year in the 30th round by the Philadelphia Phillies but chose to return to EKU.
Alvarez had a .409 batting average, 97 hits, 13 home runs and 58 RBIs. At the end of the regular season, Nowlin led NCAA Division I baseball in home runs and Alvarez had more hits than any other player.
Both earned first team All-Ohio Valley Conference honors. Alvarez was chosen as the OVC Co-Player of the Year and is a semifinalist for the Gregg Olson Award, which is given to the breakout player of the year.
The Baseball Draft Report also list senior Doug Teegarden and junior left-handed pitcher Alex Hamilton as possible draft picks. The site had this to say about Teegarden – “a reliable middle infielder with some pop and an approach that should translate well to pro ball, he’s a good one” and this on Hamilton – “kept his peripherals solid and flashed some nice stuff (88-91 FB, above-average SL) from the left side.”
Two future Colonels could also be drafted this week. Max Ford and Nick Howie have signed to play at EKU beginning with the 2017 season.
Ford, a 6-foot-1 right-handed pitcher from Braselton, Georgia, was a Perfect Game top-500 player in the country in high school. He spent his first season at the University of Georgia before playing the 2016 season at Florida Southwestern State. Perfect Game has him rated in the top 150 junior college MLB Draft prospects.
Howie, a 6-foot-3 outfielder from Oakville, Ontario, is rated as the 12th best prospect in Canada by the Canadian Baseball Network. In its “What they are saying” section on Howie, the Canadian Baseball Network wrote this – “Looks like a pro, physical body make up … Added strength has led to power flashes this spring … Has plus speed (6.6/60) allows him to go move well in the outfield, along as well as covering ground on the bases … Has shown contact/line drive swing with added physical strength … Plays the game with a controlled aggressive approach, smart ball player with great aptitude for adjustment … A victory lap guy, but would by a good add … Good size, better speed.”
Eleven former Colonels have played in Major League Baseball, including current San Diego Padres left-handed pitcher Christian Friedrich (2-1, 2.53 ERA).
by Kevin Britton
Eastern Kentucky University
Assistant Athletics Director for Communications & Branding