There was plenty of joy in Mudville and KU fans in Lawrence rejoiced as well, because on this day, the Mighty Casey did not strike out, he hit a homerun. Former Jayhawk Casey Spanish cashed in on a terrific senior season by being drafted in the 12th round by the Atlanta Braves.
The senior out of Savage, Minnesota led the Jayhawks in batting average, home runs, runs scored and triples this past season. He also played left field perfectly all season - not committing a single error in his first year out in left. It all culminated in the Braves taking a shot on the former Jayhawk and a very excited Casey Spanish joined us on Rock Chalk Sports Talk Wednesday to talk about his big break.
Q: How'd you find out the Braves had picked you and what was your reaction?
A: I was checking in on the computer every fifteen minutes to see what was going on and I was talking to my good friend Ryan Baty all day. He actually called me about it before I even knew. It was a really exciting feeling, a relief and quite a thrill for me.
Q: So, Atlanta's now made their offer - what's the next step in the process for you?
A: I think their offer for especially a senior like me is pretty cement, or in stone, so to speak. I just have to sit down and weigh all my options and see what's best for me and this time in my life and in my career and go from there.
Q: Is the 12th round about where you expected to go?
A: Talking to people before the draft and teams before the draft I got a pretty good feeling that I would be taken in the top 10 rounds so I started getting a little anxious about it. The 12th round is fine with me though. The thing that surprises me is guys like Ryan Baty and Matt Tribble not getting picked up. Those guys have great tools, great builds, and great frames. That was a big surprise.
Q: With those two coming back and other talented players like Ritchie Price and Matt Baty returning, the future looks very bright at Kansas. Will you be watching them closely next year?
A: Absolutely. I'm so excited about what Coach Price is building. Next year those guys are going to be awesome. Ryan Baty is going to break every hitting record at Kansas before he's done and it's going to be a really special year for baseball at KU. I'm just glad I got to be a part of it this year.
Who knows what the future holds for Casey Spanish. If he continues to blossom in the minors like he did his last year at KU, they may some day be cheering him on at Turner Field with the tomahawk chop and more chants for the Mighty Casey. If his best baseball is behind him, he'll wind up being great at whatever he does. He's just that kind of kid. He's one of the most likeable guys to ever run the bases at Hoglund Ballpark and will forever be remembered as one of the key players that helped to pave the way for a new era of baseball success at Kansas.
OTHER KU BASEBALL NOTES:
Two more Jayhawks were drafted on day two of the MLB draft. Juniors-to-be, Kenny Falconer and Travis Metcalf were selected by a pair of American League clubs. Falconer, a 6-6 RHP out of Alberta, Canada was taken in the 24th round by the Seattle Mariners. Metcalf, a 3B from Wamego, KS was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in round 38.
Team captain, Ryan Baty was not drafted after some had him slated to go in the top 12 rounds. Baty, who'll be a senior first baseman at Kansas next year, told Phog.net on Wednesday night that he was un-phased by the rough outcome of the MLB draft.
"Some might think I'd be devastated, crushed and in total shock that I didn't get picked after having the kind of season it takes to make it to the next level, but that's not where I'm at. I know God has a bigger plan for me and that's so exciting. I'm at total peace with that and am really excited to be returning to KU next fall.
Baty set the single season hits record last year with 97.