Former Cats waiting to hear names called in MLB Draft


LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) – The MLB Draft got underway on Sunday evening with rounds one and two held in Los Angeles, with rounds 3-10 taking place on Monday afternoon. That’s when a few former Kentucky players could hear their names called.

Chase Estep is one of those guys, who played third base last year at Kentucky and was a former national player of the week by Collegiate Baseball and Rawlings. He hit for a .302 batting average last year with 13 home runs, 49 RBI and showed off some speed with 16 stolen bases.

“He could go as far as he wants I mean he’s that talented, you just go through his tools, he has the run, the hit, the field, the throw, the power, he’s just checking a lot of boxes right now,” Kentucky head baseball coach Nick Mingione said.

Mingyone talked to FOX 56 Sports during the season about what Estep did to take that big step forward this spring, emphasizing his work in the weight room and a new approach at the plate, which is close to paying off.

“As long as he keeps progressing I don’t know how we wouldn’t be seeing him in the big leagues one day, he’s got to obviously earn that but he’s put himself on the right track and the right path to earn that opportunity, Mingyone said.

Hearing his named called would be a huge thrill for the Corbin-native after his dad and uncle both played at Kentucky and his uncle Chad Estep being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1988. The next Estep hopes to follow in his footsteps.

“It was just knowing that I belonged and being confident in my own ability and that I can do it as well as anybody, our coaches helped me out a bunch obviously we developed a plan and watched a ton of video to get my swing and everything right, can’t thank them enough they started to believe in me and I believed in myself and it just took off from there and now I can contribute to a really good baseball team,” Estep said.

Ryan Ritter is another former Kentucky ballplayer with positive buzz coming from baseball scouts. The junior played shortstop for the Wildcats each of the last two years and won the Rawlings Gold Glove award for the position. Ritter his .283 last year with eight home runs and 36 RBI in addition to his 15 stolen bases.

Tyler Guilfoil was one of the best relievers in the country last year and was recognized for it by earning first-team All-American honors by Baseball America, NCBWA and Perfect Game. The Lexington-native had a 1.59 ERA which got even lower in his 40 SEC innings, also racking up six saves and holding opposing batters to a .156 batting average.

The MLB Draft resumes on Monday at 3 pm with the third round getting started.

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