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Kentucky's Schultz drafted by Tigers in MLB Draft

austin schultz.jpg
Posted at 6:26 PM, Jul 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-12 18:26:50-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky’s Austin Schultz was selected by the Detroit Tigers in the 10th round of the 2021 Major League Baseball Draft on Tuesday. The junior outfielder was picked 285th overall and was the second UK player drafted, joining fellow outfielder John Rhodes who went 76th overall to Baltimore.

UK now has had 26 total draft picks under head coach Nick Mingione and his staff since 2017, including 15 who have gone in the first 10 rounds. Earlier, Rhodes joined Evan White (1st round, 2017), Zack Thompson (1st, 2019), Sean Hjelle (2nd, 2018), Riley Mahan (3rd, 2018) and Tristan Pompey (3rd, 2018) as Wildcats selected in the top 90 picks during that span.

Schultz, from Adams, Nebraska, was the spark plug at the top of the Wildcats’ order for three years, culminating in his most complete season in 2021. He batted .329 with 46 runs, 11 doubles, two triples, six home runs and 26 RBI. He led the team with 71 hits and ranked second in the Southeastern Conference with 22 stolen bases in 24 attempts. He tallied 24 multi-hit games, the second-most in the SEC during the regular season.

The versatile Schultz – he started at six different positions during his career – finished 13th on the school’s career stolen base list with 37 and 39th in hits with 131. He reached base safely in 100 of 110 career games with a plate appearance, a 90.9 percent clip that ranked second nationally among Division I-A players with at least 75 games played. He also collected a hit in 83 of those 110 games, ranking third nationally at 75.5 percent of games played.

Schultz was an integral part of the team’s success, as the Cats owned an 18-3 record in games in which he scored at least two runs. He was a 2020 All-American who finished his career with a .317 average in 413 at-bats, scored 91 runs, had 23 doubles, three triples, 13 home runs and 54 RBI. He drew 55 walks and 16 hit by pitch as part of his career .898 OPS.