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Lane pitcher gets the call from Angels.

Byline: Bob Clark and Chris Hansen The Register-Guard

There was the expected as the Major League Baseball draft went through eight more rounds Friday, such as Oregon's Ryon Healy being selected in the third round.

And then there was the 95th overall selection by the Los Angeles Angels: Lane Community College pitcher Keynan Middleton.

"Being that he was the first guy drafted in the state of Oregon with the two unbelievable universities close by, is unbelievable," Lane coach Josh Blunt said.

Middleton seemed to have that same feeling.

"I cried like a baby at first," Middleton said of his selection in the third round. "This is everything I ever wanted.

"I've been playing since I was 4, and this is all I ever wanted to do."

According to LCC records, Middleton is the highest-drafted player ever for the Titans. In 13 games this season, including five starts, he recorded a 2-3 record with a 3.42 earned run average, with 45 strikeouts in 42 innings.

"A year ago when I saw him, I tried to tell half a dozen scouts they needed to go see this kid. They kind of blew me off a little bit," Blunt said. "His body is super rhythmic. He has an unbelievable arm and his athleticism is ridiculously high."

Middleton also played basketball for the Titans, leading them in rebounds, three-pointers and steals while ranking second on the team in scoring with an average of 11.1 points.

Playing basketball meant a late start to baseball season, so the Titans "had to one-inning him for quite some time just to get his arm in shape," Blunt said. "His first legitimate start was April 27.

"What's unusual about him is he's a power pitcher who has better command of the breaking stuff than the fastball. It's pretty rare to have that, which is why I thought ... with better command of the fastball, he'd be a legitimate dude" as a draft candidate.

The assigned signing bonus for the 95th selection is $541,000, and Middleton, a graduate of Milwaukie High School in Portland, sounded eager to begin his professional career.

"I feel like once I lock into baseball, I'm confident I'll shoot through the system quickly and make it to the top," Middleton said.

Middleton was chosen five picks in front of Healy, the first of three current UO players to be selected Friday. A junior first baseman who set school records for RBIs, Healy was the 100th overall pick of the draft, by the Oakland Athletics.

Oregon relief pitcher Jimmie Sherfy, who set the UO records for saves in a season and career, was the second current Duck selected, going in the 10th round to the Arizona Diamondbacks as the 300th overall selection.

While that was later than expected, it was not as surprising as Texas' selection 10 picks later of Cole Wiper, a right-handed pitcher who threw only 12 2/3 innings for the Ducks this season as he came back from arm surgery. Though only a sophomore, Wiper was eligible to be drafted after turning 21 earlier this month.

Earlier in the process, three more UO recruits were taken, starting with the Toronto Blue Jays choosing Arizona high school pitcher Patrick Murphy, as the 83rd overall pick. The 6-foot-4 Murphy missed his senior season of high school after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right arm, with the expectation he would be ready to pitch his first year at Oregon.

The slotted signing bonus for the 83rd pick is $650,000. As with other players with the option of playing in college, Murphy has until July 12 to decide whether to sign his professional contract.

The two other UO recruits taken Friday were a pair of fourth-round selections, California high school catcher Jake Sweaney by the Philadelphia Phillies and first baseman Cody Bellinger, a prep teammate of Murphy's, who went to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Oregon State had three current players drafted on Friday, with pitcher Ben Wetzler going to the Phillies in the fifth round, pitcher Matt Boyd to Toronto in the sixth and shortstop Tyler Smith to Seattle in the eighth.

One of OSU's signed recruits also was drafted Friday, with Canadian outfielder Tyler O'Neill also going to the Mariners, in the third round with the 85th overall selection.

UO recruit Matt Krook, taken by the Miami Marlins with the 35th overall pick on Thursday, indicated that he was likely to sign.

"I love Oregon, love the coaches up there, but I think at this point I'm ready to play pro ball," the left-handed pitcher from San Francisco told the Miami Herald.

The draft concludes today, with rounds 11 through 40.
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Title Annotation:College Baseball; The Titans' Keynan Middleton is picked in the third round
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Jun 8, 2013
Previous Article:This 'magic' moment.

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