Leading up to this year’s Major League Baseball draft, Utah high school players such as Kayden Porter and Conner Williams received the bulk of the attention, as a strong class that would bring the state some notoriety.
Instead, the University of Utah has stolen the spotlight, with two players taken on the second day, and a signee who found himself selected.
Closer Tyler Wagner was drafted in the fourth round by the Milwaukee Brewers. Fellow Ute Parker Morin, originally from Park City, was taken in the 14th round by the Kansas City Royals, and signee Caleb Frare was drafted in the 11th round by the New York Yankees.
Wagner is the fourth Ute in the past five years to be taken in the first five rounds. He holds the single-season school record with 17 saves, and has a career 2.72 ERA.
“I kept hearing that I was going to go somewhere in the first three to five rounds,” Wagner said. “It’s been a stressful few days. I’m glad that it’s over, and that now I can move on to the next phase.”
That next phase would be deciding on being a starter or a closer. Wagner prefers life as a reliever, but would also welcome the challenge of being a starter. Either way, Wagner is looked upon as one of the better pitching talents in the draft.
Milwaukee selecting him isn’t a shock, considering that the Brewers had continuous dialogue with him. Now that the draft process is over, Wagner says that he’s eager to sign and to start playing.
“Their area scout is the guy who has been watching me the longest, so I have a good relationship with the organization,” Wagner said. “This is just a very good fit for me, and I’m glad everything has worked out.”
Morin was an honorable mention All-Pac-12 selection this season. He tied for the team lead with 69 hits and knocked home 35 runs.