Eighth round pick happy to be with Hawks

Jake Muyco was the first catcher selected by the Cubs on draft day 2005. He was chosen in the eighth round after spending two seasons at North Carolina State University in the ACC, and the Cubs were a surprise team on draft day, Muyco says.

"I figured I was going to be drafted by the Braves or Indians," Muyco said. "They were both showing a lot of interest."

Getting drafted in the top 10 rounds was quite a thrill for the ex-Wolfpack and Richland, Wash., native. Richland is essentially home to the Tri-City Dust Devils, one of the Hawks' Northwest League rivals. The city of Boise is only 300 miles from Muyco's hometown.

After being drafted again this season, the 20-year-old Muyco played one game for the Cubs' rookie affiliate in Mesa before getting sent up to play for Class-A Boise. (He was originally an Orioles draft pick in 2003 out of Columbia Basin Community College in Pasco, Wash.)

"I was definitely hoping to be in Boise from the beginning," Muyco admitted. "It doesn't matter where I play, though. I'm going to go out and do whatever I can to help my team."

Muyco is the most recent addition to the Hawks' catching core. Mark Reed, the third round selection from 2004, is getting the majority of playing time while 2004 28th round pick Jonathan Douillard is sharing backup duties with Muyco.

"I've played behind guys before, but I don't really think that's the situation here," Muyco said. "I can only control what I do on the field. As long as I have no regrets, I'm not going to feel bad about playing behind anyone."

Defense is certainly Muyco's main attribute, as he was widely considered one of the best defensive catchers in the country this past season. On offense, he hit in every slot with the exception of leadoff and third at N.C. State.

Muyco is not a power hitter, considering he did not crack any home runs throughout his college career in Raleigh.

"I hit pretty good for average," Muyco explains. "I'm more of a team-oriented hitter; I'm a line drive, hit-for-average guy. My biggest strength is my defense and throwing ability. Behind the plate, my arm is definitely my biggest asset."

Muyco hit .333 in 57 games this past season with the Wolfpack. He knows this summer is mainly about learning and adjusting to the pro level. Through only seven games, he has a .304 average with one RBI, two walks and four strikeouts.

The young catcher has a goal of staying in Boise for the duration of his rookie season.

"I want to try and hit around .300 and win a lot of ball games," Muyco said. "I just want to show them all my skills and try to keep doing the things I do well both offensively and defensively. I want to show that I can hit at this level, and that I have the potential to move up."

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