High school days are some of the best anyone can have. You make life-long friends and mature as a person. You find out who you are and do things you’ve never experienced. And for many people, college is the next step. Continue to grow, continue to learn, and start on a path to the rest of your life. But in a couple of days, a pair of Kentucky high schoolers will get to experience something very few ever do, and something that no amount of school can really prepare you for: Be drafted by a professional sports team.
Hunter Green from Warren East High School, and Clinton Hollon from Woodford County High School are projected to be selected by many major league draft boards. Both are high-profile prep pitching prospects, and both are Kentucky baseball commits. The money is going to come knocking, so they have a tough choice to make. Take the money and run, or commit to the Wildcats for three years and develop in the Southeastern Conference.
Green is a southpaw pitcher standing at 6-4, 180 pounds with a fluid three-quarter delivery. His fastball has been clocked regularly around 91 mph and he compliments that with a diverse repertoire of pitches, including a curveball, a changeup, and a cutter. Green can add to his resume that he pitched in the 2012 Under Armour All-America game at Wrigley Field in Chicago. His team, Warren East, didn’t have a winning season, so his numbers don’t look spectacular compared to other prep stars; only 3-1 in decisions. But his 110 strikeouts in 51.2 innings are downright dominating.
ScoutingBaseball.com tabs Green as a three-star and the No. 54 prospect in the draft. The current mock draft suggests he could be selected at the back-end of the first round by the Rangers or the Braves with the 30th and 31st pick respectively. Baseball American ranks him at the No. 31 prospect in the draft in its list of the top 250 players available.
Hunter Green and Clinton Hollon
The other high-end prospect for UK baseball is Clinton Hollon, who hails from right next door in Woodford County. He is a right-handed pitcher standing at 6-1, 195 pounds. As a showcase of his raw power, when necessary, he can crank his fastball up to 96 mph. Hollon has been featured on the site before when he was tabbed as one of the best prospects in all of college baseball by ESPN last summer, and while his stock may have dipped slightly, he still is a foreboding opponent and one Kentucky’s pitching staff would surely love to hang on to.
Hollon as a three-star prospect and the No. 80 player in the draft, according to ScoutingBaseball.com. With 40 rounds in the draft and 30 teams selecting, it’s safe to say some team will take a gamble on luring his services away from the collegiate ranks fairly early on in the process.
Jonathan Gray from Oklahoma and Mark Appel from Stanford, two pitchers, are favored for the top picks by the Astros and Cubs. But also in the hunt for a draft selection are Kentucky pitchers, lefty Corey Littrell — tabbed as the No. 129 prospect, and righty Trevor Gott — listed as the No. 166 prospect by Baseball America. Littrell was drafted out of high school by the Washington Nationals in the 35th round.
The MLB Draft begins Thursday at 5 p.m. when Houston goes on the clock. The draft is a three-day process and runs through Saturday. It’s certain that all four of these Wildcats mentioned will hear their name called. The question is, does money talk?