A call to Central Missouri arms
Five Mules pitchers taken on first day of draft
Central Missouri State doesn't have the cache of, say, the University of Texas or Miami or Rice. Yet, it was this Division II school that had perhaps the biggest impact on the first day of the draft on Tuesday.
Five CMS pitchers -- yes, five -- were selected in the first 11 rounds of the First-Year Player Draft, beginning with closer Nicholas Webber, who went in the second round (No. 78) to the Cardinals. Also selected were Daniel Powers in the eighth round (No. 255) by Minnesota, Jason Schutt in the 10th round (304) by Cleveland, Josh Outman in the 10th round (307) by Philadelphia and Michael Phelps in the 11th round (340) by the Cubs.
"It was a day we're still in shock over," Mules coach Darin Hendrickson said. "I guess I shouldn't say shock, though. We knew we had a good group. Anytime you get that many guys, though, especially pitchers, it's a day that everybody wins. It looks like they're all going to sign so it's a win-win deal. We hope it carries over [into recruiting].
"We heard all kinds of numbers going into the draft but boy, oh boy, this is, 'Wow.' When all five guys left here yesterday, the phone was ringing until midnight. There was a barrage of congratulations. I was stunned and happy. It was a nice thing; pretty neat stuff."
In addition to its five pitchers, two other CMS players -- Will Bradley and Patrick Evers -- signed independent-league contracts on Tuesday and catcher Shawn Callahan was grabbed in the 22nd round on Wednesday by Oakland.
It stands to reason that the Mules would have so many players move on, considering they won 50 games for the sixth consecutive season this year, reaching the Division II semifinals before losing to Florida Southern. CMS finished at 57-9 and won its 12th straight MIAA regular season title and sixth straight MIAA Tournament and Central Region Tournament crowns.
Webber, a second team All-America, established a CMS record for saves in a season (11) and career (19). He was 3-1 with a 1.06 ERA in 29 games. He had 45 strikeouts in 42 1/3 innings.
Powers was named the Pitcher of the Year on the Rawlings/ABCA and National Collegiate Baseball Writers of America teams after setting school and Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association records by going 15-1 and striking out 129. He also tied school and conference marks for shutouts with four.
Schutt went 11-2 with a 4.04 ERA, striking out 89 in 78 innings. Outman, meanwhile, was 10-2 with a 3.03 ERA and 106 strikeouts in 86 innings. He also hit .341 with six homers.
Phelps was 4-1 with a save in 15 games, striking out 59 in 43 2/3 innings and holding the opposition to a .195 batting average after returning from a head injury. He was 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA, striking out 15 in 11 1/3 innings, in two tournament games.
Hendrickson, 35, who has served as a batting-practice pitcher for the Cardinals for the last 10 years, didn't want to say for sure which of his pitchers could reach the big leagues first. When pressed, he said Outman probably had the best shot to arrive quickly.
"The best part is Webber going to the Cards," he said. "I'm from St. Louis and I've thrown batting practice for them for years. I know a lot of people over there but I had nothing to do with this pick. To have him go to the Cards is great. They are my team."
Kevin Czerwinski is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.