LOS ANGELES, Calif. — After not seeing a single Central Texas player chosen in the first two rounds of the 2022 MLB Draft, seven athletes with Central Texas ties were taken on Day Two, including players from Baylor, Texas A&M, MCC and Temple College.
The Bears lone Day Two draft pick, center fielder Jared McKenzie, saw his name come off the board in the fifth round when he was selected by the Washington Nationals with the No. 141 overall pick.
McKenzie was an All-American with the Bears in the 2021 season and entered 2022 with plenty of major league hype. However, in his sophomore year at Baylor, he struggled in comparison to his lofty expectations. McKenzie batted just .288 in 2022 with 11 home runs, compared to .383 with 10 home runs in 2021.
McKenzie is currently third all-time at Baylor in career batting average (.346) and eighth all-time in career slugging percentage (.555).
The slot value for pick No. 141 is $410,200.
He still has the option to return for college for at least two more seasons but is expected to turn pro.
A pair of Texas A&M transfers were chosen within four picks of each of other. Pitcher Micah Dallas and outfielder Dylan Rock were both selected in the eighth round. Dallas was taken with pick No. 244 by the Oakland Athletics, while Rock was taken with pick No. 248 by the Toronto Blue Jays.
Dallas transferred to Texas A&M for the 2022 season after spending the first half of his career at Texas Tech. He assumed a role in the Aggies' starting rotation during their deep postseason run. In Omaha, he helped eliminate the Texas Longhorns with a 5.0 inning outing, his longest since early April.
Dallas has the option to return to Texas A&M in 2023.
Rock joined the Aggies as a graduate transfer from UTSA. In his lone season at Texas A&M, he batted .318 with 65 RBI and 19 home runs. He does not have remaining eligibility.
McLennan Community College:
MCC saw two former and one current highlander come off the board on Day Two of the MLB Draft.
Jimmy Crooks, who played for the Highlanders during the COVID-shortened 2020 season, was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals organization in the fourth round with pick No. 127. Crooks spent the last two seasons at the University of Oklahoma, where he helped lead the Sooners to the College World Series Championship.
His MCC teammate, Jalen Battles, was taken one round later with pick No. 164. Battles will have the chance to sign with the Tampa Bay Rays.
In college. he spent two seasons (2019-20) with the Highlanders before transferring to the University of Arkansas. He also led his team to the College World Series, batting .289 with 10 home runs and 45 RBI.
Battles was drafted No. 1,020 overall coming out of high school.
One current MCC pitcher was also selected on Day Two of the 2022 MLB Draft. The Baltimore Orioles took Wyatt Cheney in Round 10 with pick No. 287.
Cheney amassed a 10-3 record at MCC, finishing the season with a 3.20 ERA and 122 strikeouts. He spent time at Oklahoma State before transferring to McLennan. He is a Texas Longhorn commit.
The Leopards' lone Day Two draft pick was former shortstop Seth Stephenson, who spent the last season at the University of Tennessee.
Stephenson went in the seventh round to the Detroit Tigers with pick No. 207.