Washington State second baseman Trek Stemp will have an opportunity to begin his professional career after the Tampa Bay Rays selected the Cougar in the 29th round of the Major League Baseball Draft on Saturday.
Stemp, who is a redshirt junior and could still return to WSU for his senior season if he so desires, entered the season as a relative unknown after spending his junior season redshirting. In fact, coming into the season, he had to fight for the starting job at second base.
Once he landed the job, however, it soon became apparent that he was the Cougars’ best hitter; he ended up batting .355 on the season — fifth-highest in the Pac-12 — with a .393 on-base percentage. Despite having only six extra-base hits (all doubles), Stemp tied for the team lead in total bases. He also tied for the team lead with 12 stolen bases.
It led to Stemp being WSU’s lone representative on the all-Pac-12 first team.
Stemp is considered a strong defender, but the almost total lack of power is a big part of why he slipped so far down in the draft despite that gaudy average.
Stemp is from Kennewick, Washington, and was not drafted out of Kennewick High School. Despite having spent four years on campus, he did not participate in WSU’s senior day festivities, which could give some insight into whether Stemp anticipates signing with his new organization.
Stemp has until July 15 to sign with the team or return to school for his senior season.