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Nevada baseball players who could be selected in this week's MLB draft

Grant Ford
Grant Ford harnessed his big stuff this year, which could lead to him being selected in the MLB draft. (John Byrne/Nevada athletics)

The Major League Baseball draft is this week with the first two rounds Monday, rounds 3-10 on Tuesday and rounds 11-40 on Wednesday. In all, 1,217 players will be selected in the draft, and a couple of those might come off Nevada's roster. The Wolf Pack didn't have a player selected in last year's draft, marking a first since 2009 and only the third time this century (it did have two signed recruits, Owen Sharts and Julian Body, selected). The odds are better this week Nevada will have a player picked. Here's a look at the Wolf Pack's top prospects in the 2019 MLB draft.

Junior-eligible players

* OF/SS Jaylon McLaughlin, 5-11/165: McLaughlin has been selected before, going in the 38th round of the 2016 draft by the New York Mets, and he could be the Wolf Pack's top prospect in this year's draft (McLauglin and the guy below are 1 and 1A). He has excellent speed and position versatility having played shortstop and center field at Nevada, where he's improved in each of his three seasons. In 2019, he hit .339 (up from .212 as a freshman) with 25 steals against four times being caught stealing. McLaughlin cut his strikeout rate to a more reasonable figure this season (17 percent, down from 30 percent as a freshman) and his speed and ability to play a premium defensive position are both huge pluses. He must add strength to supply enough power to become a high-level prospect, but McLaughlin has tools that will be in demand by big-league teams.

* LHP Ryan Anderson, 6-6/205: Anderson was expected to be drafted following a dominant senior season at Spanish Springs (he had a 0.91 ERA and 98 strikeouts in 61.1 innings) in 2016, but that never materialized (he was planning on attending college anyway). But Anderson could hear his name called three years later. For starters, he's a 6-6 lefty who can run it up to 90 miles per hour. That size and projectability out of a left-hander will always tempt pro teams. Anderson served as Nevada's Friday starter the entire season and got off to a strong start, posting a 2.66 ERA with 42 strikeouts in 40.2 innings in his first seven starts. The second seven starts (7.80 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 30 innings) were not as strong, but Anderson has averaged nearly a strikeout an inning over his college career and should draw interest in this year's draft.

* RHP Grant Ford, 6-1/175: As far as best pure stuff goes, Ford probably tops the list of Nevada pitchers. He just has to harness it, which he did for the first time in his college career this season. During his first two years at Nevada, Ford posted a 7.88 ERA with 51 walks in 88 innings pitched with a 1.81 WHIP. But 2019 was a different story. Working exclusively as a relief pitcher, Ford was dominant. He was 5-1 with a 2.76 ERA and five saves. Ford struck out 51 batters in 45.2 innings and cut down his walk rate from 9.0 walks per nine innings last season to 2.56 walks per nine innings this season. He cut his WHIP from 2.32 last season to 0.99 this year. That improved production combined with his raw stuff and solid frame could get him drafted.

* 1B Dillan Shrum, 6-1/215: Shrum's cousin, Trenton Brooks, went from Granite Hills High (El Cajon, Calif.) to Nevada to an MLB draft pick, and Shrum hopes to do the same. He's a right-handed-hitting first baseman, which is typically tough for pro aspirations. You really have to mash to move up the ladder as a right-handed first baseman. Shrum has been a productive hitter in all three of his seasons at Nevada, posting a .302/.417/.520 slash line good for a .937 OPS. He had 10 homers and seven doubles in 150 at-bats this season, so the power is there. Shrum didn't necessarily have a huge platform junior season (he hit .280), so he might not get drafted, but he should be on the radar of pro teams.

* RHP Shane Gustafson, 6-5/185: Gustafson was nearly as productive as Ford out of the Nevada bullpen this season, although he has a three-quarter delivery and doesn't possess the same pure stuff as his teammate. Gustafson posted a 2-0 record and 3.23 ERA in 55.2 innings over 25 games while striking out 49 batters. This year was his first at the Division I level after a two-year stint at Folsom Lake Community College, where he was the Big 8 Pitcher of the Year as a sophomore when he went 7-3 with a 1.55 ERA. Gustafson is probably the biggest long shot of Nevada's junior-eligible players of getting drafted but he's worth a mention.

Senior signs

* OF Weston Hatten, 6-3/195: After two seasons at Washington State, Hatten transferred to Nevada. He was a two-way player last season before focusing solely on hitting as a senior, which helped boost his stat line. Hatten slashed .300/.416/.550 in 2019, good for a team-best .966 OPS. He also led Nevada with 10 homers and 14 doubles. He has an excellent arm in the outfield, so he brings some defensive value, too. He posted career-best marks in walk rate, strikeout rate and isolated power, so his senior season has potentially lifted him into draft pick status.

* C Kaleb Foster, 6-0/195.: The Douglas High graduate was a first-team All-Mountain West pick as a junior (.310/.407/.535) but injuries sabotaged his senior season (.206/.439/.441). He dominated Fresno State ace Ryan Jensen, a likely top-100 pick in this year's draft, hitting two of the three homers Jensen allowed in 99.2 innings this season. But Foster batted .193 outside of that breakout junior season, with no other year hitting better than .206. Foster is a left-handed-hitting catcher, which is a valuable commodity, so he could get a pro opportunity.

* RHP Bradley Bonnenfant, 6-2/195: Bonnenfant had a solid senior season, posting a 6-4 record and 3.68 ERA over 36.2 innings in 24 appearances out of the bullpen. He struck out 45 batters (11.05 Ks per nine innings) while cutting his walk rate. Bonnenfant began his career at Sierra College in Rocklin, Calif., before a transfer to Nevada prior to last season.

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