MLB draft: Fresno State's Luplow, Velazquez among area's four Day 2 picks

The Fresno BeeJune 6, 2014 

Jordan Luplow can envision his path to the majors.

It was laid out six years ago, when ex-Bulldog Justin Wilson traveled what could be an identical course.

Both starred at Buchanan High, then at Fresno State.

And like Wilson in 2008, Luplow on Friday was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates after his junior year.

The outfielder -- who hit .377 with nine homers and 48 RBIs, slugged .609 and posted a .475 on-base percentage en route to Mountain West Conference Player of the Year honors -- was the first of four players with area ties drafted on Day 2 of the major league amateur draft.

A day after Sanger's Luis Ortiz went in the first round to Texas and Clovis' Jake Gatewood to Milwaukee as a competitive-balance round pick, the Pirates took Luplow in the third. He was the 100th overall pick.

Moments later, a congratulatory call came from Wilson.

"It was kind of surreal getting a call from him," Luplow said. "It kind of feels like we've been on the same track. He could relate. He's in the majors now. That's where I want to be. I just thought it was cool he called."

Fresno State could take a big hit this offseason. In addition to Luplow, junior right-hander Derick Velazquez (3-5, 4.79 ERA) went to Houston in the seventh round.

And the Bulldogs also continued to see their 2014 recruiting class draw heavy interest, with infielder Luke Dykstra of Westlake High-Westlake Village going in the seventh round to Atlanta and Liberty-Madera Ranchos righty Stetson Woods in the ninth to San Francisco. Dykstra is the son of former major league center fielder Lenny Dykstra.

Ortiz also is committed to the Bulldogs.

Left-hander Max Schuh, an Edison grad now at UCLA, went to Baltimore in the seventh round. He led the Pac-12 in appearances with 37, striking out 34, walking 10 and allowing 22 hits in 29 innings. He was a conference All-Academic second-team selection, with a 3.44 GPA as a political science major.

Next for the players is the task of weighing the lure of six-figure and higher signing bonuses against the benefits of staying in school. Fresno State will keep playing the waiting- and-watching game, with rounds 11-40 today likely to see junior right-hander Jordan Brink and outfield recruit Trenton Kemp of Buchanan fly off the board.

"There's a lot of good players who've come through Fresno State," Velazquez said. "We were fortunate that even though we had two losing seasons, (scouts) noticed we still have good players.

"A lot of us now have decisions to make."

Velazquez, for one, said he feels ready to go pro.

"I definitely feel ready to go out and give it my best," Velazquez said. "There's still a lot I need to work on. But I feel I have the mental ability that'll help me a lot at the next level."

Luplow isn't as certain.

"I'm about even right now," Luplow said about either going pro or playing one more college season. "I love Fresno State and the program and the coaches. I definitely am going to put that into consideration. But I kind of want to get my career started.

"We'll see. We still got to talk to my family and figure out what's best."

Luplow earlier in the day was named a finalist for the Gregg Olson Award as college baseball's "Breakout Player of the Year." He's survived two cuts from what was an 83-player watch list announced May 13. The winner will be named in Omaha, Neb., during the June 14-25 College World Series.

MLB draft selections

Players with Fresno-area ties selected through two days of the 2014 major league baseball amateur draft, with position, school, MLB team, round and overall draft slot.

• Luis Ortiz, RHP, Sanger High, Texas Rangers, 1st, No. 30

• Jake Gatewood, SS, Clovis High, Milwaukee Brewers, Competitive Balance A, No. 41

• Jordan Luplow, OF, Fresno State/Buchanan High, Pittsburgh Pirates, 3rd, No. 100

• Derick Velazquez, RHP, Fresno State, Houston Astros, 7th, No. 196

• Max Schuh, LHP, UCLA/Edison High, Baltimore Orioles, 7th, No. 211

• Stetson Woods, RHP, Liberty High-Madera Ranchos, San Francisco Giants, 9th, No. 268


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