Nevada Wolf Pack pitchers Cody Ford and Ryan Anderson joined outfielder Jaylon McLaughlin as the three players to be selected in the 2019 MLB Draft.
Nevada’s three draftees are the most it has had since 2016 when Miles Mastrobuoni, Trenton Brooks and Sam Held were picked.
Ford was selected in the fifth round — 154th overall — by the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday, June 4. It was the highest selection of a Wolf Pack baseball player since Reno Aces right-handed pitcher Braden Shipley went 15th overall by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2013.
In three seasons with the Pack, Ford accumulated a 6.07 ERA and 122 strikeouts in 135 innings. The right-hander had a 5-1 record and 2.74 ERA with a career-high 51 strikeouts in 45.2 innings of work this year.
Ford is equipped with plenty of power from the mound. His fastball peaked at 96 mph to compliment a hard three-quarter slider with plenty of break from either side of the plate.
The San Jose, California native earned Second-Team All-Mountain West Conference honors and was named Mountain West Pitcher of the Week following Nevada’s sweep over the San Jose State to get into the Mountain West Tournament.
Junior pitcher Ryan Anderson was picked 375th overall in the 12th round by the New York Yankees. The 6-foot-6-inch lefty tossed a team-high 70.2 innings to go along with a 4.84 ERA and 64 strikeouts with Nevada this season.
The Sparks, Nevada native totaled 122 strikeouts and an 8-7 record over three seasons with the Pack. Anderson’s career-high 11 strikeouts against Long Beach State on Feb. 22 are the third-most in school history since 2000. He was named Mountain West Pitcher of the Week on Feb. 25 for the performance.
Anderson pounds the strike zone with a low-to-mid 90s fastball, but his off-speed changeup keeps opposing teams chasing with deceptive movement to keep rival batters off-guard. The lanky southpaw has also developed a sweeping, low-80s slider that breaks away from lefties and forces ground balls.
“My fastball-changeup combination has been working all season,” he told the Nevada Sagebrush last season. “If I land my slider and it’s clicking, it really keeps the batters off guard. I have confidence throwing any of the three in whatever count, so it’s taking my game to a new level.”
Nevada outfielder Jaylon McLaughlin was picked in the 37th round and 1,122nd overall by the Chicago Cubs. He batted a team-high .339 with 61 hits, 25 stolen bases and 24 RBIs. His 24 RBIs tripled his career-high.
McLaughlin was a 38th round selection in the 2016 MLB Draft by the New York Mets. He lettered in three years in baseball at Santa Monica High School before he committed to Nevada.
In three seasons with the Wolf Pack, McLaughlin slashed a .289 batting average with 101 hits including 10 doubles, five triples and four homers.
A switch-hitter, McLaughlin’s smooth swing translated to missiles hit down the first and third base lines. His blazing speed on the basepaths stretches routine base hits into doubles.
If McLaughlin settles for a single, his long strides give him a great jump to steal second or third.
“Baseball is a momentum game,” McLaughlin said last season. “So I just try to capitalize on any situation whenever I can to help my guys. So If that means going for extra bases or stealing a bag myself, that’s what I’m gonna do.”
The Silver State took quite the big-league swing during the MLB Draft. Along with Nevada, two more players were selected out of UNLV.
Rebels shortstop Bryston Stott headlined all draftees with the 14th overall selection by the Philadelphia Phillies. In addition, UNLV right fielder Max Smith was picked in the 31st round by the Minnesota Twins.