Washington State's contribution to the 2014 MLB Draft wrapped up with the selection of senior catcher/outfielder Collin Slaybaugh in the 26th round by the New York Yankees, the No. 782 pick overall. He became the fourth Cougar selected on the day, joining outfielder Yale Rosen, third baseman Nick Tanielu and pitcher Tanner Chleborad.
"I want to thank my family for its support," Slaybaugh said in a statement through WSU. "We had a lot of my family watching the draft at our house and they all went out to buy Yankees' gear as soon as I was drafted. Thank you to the WSU Cougars. It has been a great four years. Most of my family members are Cougars so I have been a Coug my whole life. Now, I am excited to see what I can do in pro ball."
"Before I left Pullman at the end of the season, I talked with the (WSU) coaching staff about my intentions to start my professional career," Rosen said in a statement through WSU. "I had a chance to work out for the Padres in San Diego a couple of days ago and there are some really good people in the organization. I am going to have an opportunity to play in Eugene, Ore., in the Northwest League, so this is a very exciting time."
"First and foremost, I thank God, my dad and the coaches at Washington State," Tanielu said in a statement through WSU. "I could not have done this without them. My family and the coaches have always been in my corner. Thank you to the Coug fans for always rooting for us in good time and bad. Thank you to the Astros for providing me an opportunity to pursue my dream of playing professional baseball."
Said Chleborad, also in a statement through the school: "I'm extremely excited to have an opportunity to play at the next level. There is still some negotiating to do, but I am eager to see how the process plays out."
Tanielu actually does have a bit of leverage here; as someone who redshirted, he can come back for his junior year and take another run at moving up the draft for a bigger bonus, as he would still have some leverage with the organization. Chleborad, on the other hand, would need a monster senior year in 2015 to improve his financial position because all of his leverage to negotiate a bonus will be gone without the option to return.
One of the bigger surprises on the day was that redshirt sophomore outfielder Ben Roberts went undrafted, likely signaling that he made it known to organizations he was planning on returning to school. He was a seventh round pick out of high school and was ranked by a couple of services in the top 350 prospects available. We'll talk more about that next week, but that's a pretty positive development for WSU's 2015 team.
Among the draft eligible players who were not selected were shortstop Trace Tam Sing, pitcher Joe Pistorese, pitcher Kellen Camus and pitcher Scott Simon. Camus is a senior and will not be returning, while Tam Sing and Simon each are redshirt juniors who would be returning for a fifth season if they come back. Simon finished the year injured, but participated in senior day activities. Pistorese, who has been an excellent college pitcher but lacks the arm talent to wow scouts, would be a senior.
There always are sad stories as well. A year ago, pitcher J.D. Leckenby was drafted in the 14th round by the New York Mets; he returned to school and ended up missing the year with an arm injury, leading to him going undrafted.
But hey - he got his degree!
We'll keep you posted in the coming weeks as news of signings (or non-signings) rolls in.