Three with Oregon ties taken in draft
It didn’t take long for KJ Harrison and Jake Thompson to get the call Tuesday morning.
The Oregon State baseball stars were both selected early on the second day of the Major League Baseball draft.
Harrison, a junior catcher/infielder, was taken in the third round (84th overall) by the Milwaukee Brewers. Thompson, a redshirt junior pitcher, went to the Boston Red Sox as a fourth-round (131st overall) selection.
Also going in the third round was former Medford Rogues catcher Joey Morgan. He was selected by the Detroit Tigers with the 95th pick.
The three-day draft wraps up with rounds 11 through 40 on Wednesday.
A three-time all-Pac-12 selection, Harrison is batting .330 with 39 RBIs and a team-high eight home runs this year. Three homers have come in the NCAA tournament.
Harrison, rated the 85th-best prospect nationally by Perfect Game for the class of 2014, that year was drafted in the 25th round out of Honolulu’s Punahou High by the Cleveland Indians. He hit .309 with 10 homers and 60 RBIs in 2015, earning Pac-12 freshman-of-the-year honors.
The 6-foot, 209-pounder batted .265 with 10 homers and 47 RBIs last year.
Despite recording just five home runs during the regular season, coach Pat Casey felt Harrison grew as hitter between his sophomore and junior campaigns.
“The power has always been there and always will be there, regardless of how many home runs he hits,” Casey said earlier this year.
Thompson was a 34th-round selection by the Chicago Cubs in 2013 out of Florence’s Siuslaw High. He came to OSU as the 497th-ranked prep player by Perfect Game.
Measuring in at 6-2 and 201 pounds, Thompson is 14-0 with 1.52 ERA in 18 appearances (17 starts) this year. The right-hander is Division I’s lone 14-game winner.
Thompson had a solid freshman season, going 3-2 with a 4.25 ERA in 36 innings. After a lingering back strain forced him to redshirt in 2015, Thompson struggled with consistency last year en route to a 3-3 record with a 4.28 ERA in 13 starts.
But Thompson has been nearly flawless this spring, striking out 113 while walking just 36 in 118? innings.
“I think that (Thompson) thought in his mind that he had to be a certain way when he came here and how he had to do things,” pitching coach Nate Yeskie said back in March. “We’ve always encouraged every kid that comes here to be who they are. They’re the ones that we recruited and I think sometimes he put too much pressure on himself to perform. And now he’s having fun. He’s enjoying it.”
Earlier Tuesday, Thompson was named a finalist for the College Baseball Hall of Fame Gregg Olson Award, presented annually to the nation’s breakout player of the year.
Thompson is one of five finalists for the award, joining Cal State Fullerton’s Brett Conine, Tennessee Tech’s Ryan Flick, Davidson’s Will Robertson and Belmont’s Nick Egli.
Morgan played for the Rogues in 2014, hitting .351 with 13 hits, eight runs and seven RBIs in 37 at-bats.
Prior to his time with the Rogues, Morgan — out of Sisters High School — was the Oregon 4A player of the year.
Following his summer in Medford, Morgan went on to play at the University of Washington.