Lemont’s Jake Latz among six Southland baseball players drafted on Day 2 – Chicago Tribune
Jake Latz hasn’t pitched in a baseball game since June 7, 2016.
That didn’t prevent the Texas Rangers from drafting the Lemont graduate Tuesday in the fifth round, 164th overall.
A redshirt sophomore, Latz, 21, was appreciative of how much faith the Rangers showed in him.
“I couldn’t be more humbled and thankful,” Latz said. “I’m healthy and extremely ready to go.”
After going 10-0 with an 0.23 ERA as a senior and leading Lemont to the 2014 Class 3A state championship, Latz was selected in the 11th round by the Toronto Blue Jays.
He decided to delay his professional career, attending LSU with his catcher Mike Papierski, his high school batterymate. Papierski was selected Tuesday by the Houston Astros in the ninth round, 271st overall.
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Latz suffered through two injury-plagued seasons, leading to surgery in November 2015 to repair a stress fracture in his pitching elbow.
Latz struck out 11 with a 7.56 ERA in 8 1/3 innings during his LSU career.
“It’s a crazy story,” Latz said. “It was frustrating at times. Texas was willing to take a chance on me and I want to prove them right.”
Lemont coach Brian Storako wasn’t surprised his former ace was drafted.
“He’s a good kid who works hard,” Storako said of Latz. “The tools are all there. He made sure he stayed sharp while he was at Kent State. He’s always put himself in position to succeed.”
The 164th pick of the Major League Baseball draft has a slot value of $288,500 for a signing bonus. That type of money will make it a little tougher for Latz to remain at Kent State.
“We’ll see,” Latz said. “Whatever I needed to do this past year, Kent State was there for me. They’re very professional. A great university and baseball program.”
The 6-3, 195-pound Papierski, a switch-hitting catcher, is batting .260 with six doubles, eight homers and 34 RBIs for LSU, which has advanced to the College World Series.
Papierski, a junior, was drafted out of high school in the 16th round by Toronto. If he signs with the Astros, the slot value for the 271st overall pick is $141,600.
Four other Southland products were selected Tuesday:
Bass, a right-hander, was 3-7 with a 3.74 ERA in 15 appearances. He was drafted in the 33rd round by the Cubs out of Lincoln-Way Central. The slot value for the 215th pick is $189,100.
•Joliet Catholic graduate Rylan Bannon, a third baseman for Xavier, was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the eighth round, 250th overall.
Bannon batted .339 with 45 runs, 14 doubles, three triples, 15 homers, 50 RBIs and 17 stolen bases as a junior. The slot value for the 250th pick is $151,400.
A right-hander, Ryan was 3-1 with one save and a 3.10 ERA for the Flames. The slot value for the 227th pick is $173,300.
•Sandburg graduate Zach Reks, an outfielder for Kentucky, was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 10th round, 310th overall.
A left-handed hitter, Reks batted .352 with 16 doubles, two triples, three homers and 44 RBIs for the Wildcats. The slot value for the 310th pick is $131,600.