Several Ducks Drafted

The first Tuesday in June is always an interesting time for thousands upon thousands of amateur baseball players. That day marks the annual Major League Baseball Draft. Fifty rounds…more than 1500 players are selected. While it doesn’t have the same “showy” qualities of the National Football League Draft, it’s still a very important day for baseball players, scouts, organizations and fans. Three former, and four current, Madison Mallards were fortunate enough to be chosen either yesterday or today.

Illinois State pitchers Kitt Kopach and Dan Frega were both selected in the 12th round on Tuesday. For those who don’t know, the 12th round in the MLB Draft is pretty high. While Frega didn’t make it to Madison before being selected by Cleveland with the 371st overall selection, Kopach appeared in two games for the Mallards. Kopach received the call that he’d been selected by the Chicago Cubs with the 359th pick while riding the Mallards team bus from the hotel in Eau Claire to the playing field, about 4:50 p.m.

“Mike Kelley (a teammate at Illinois State) called me and said ‘congratulations’. I thought he was joking around. Everybody’s been calling me: old coaches, friends, family…it’s a nutfest right now.”

Kopach went 3-9 as a junior at Illinois State this spring. His 4.17 ERA was best on the team, though. Baseball America ranked him the 19th best prospect in the state of Illinois.

Frega appeared in 24 games, going 1-4 with a 5.60 ERA. The 6’5″, 195-pounder just completed his junior season at Illinois State, too.

The Mallards had a number of current and former players selected on Wednesday as well. They include John Martin (2004-05), Burke Baldwin (2005), Erik Walker (2005) and current Mallards Marc Lewis (pictured below) and Ryan Basham. Martin was selected in 24th round by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Walker went to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 20th round and Baldwin to the Kansas City Royals in the 21st round. Marc Lewis was a 26th round pick of the Milwaukee Brewers and Ryan Basham was selected in the 29th round by the Toronto Blue Jays.

With the drafting of Frega, the Mallards have placed him on waivers and signed MATC pitcher Craig Meier. Meier, a Madison native, attended Edgewood high school where he was a three sport athlete in football, basketball and baseball. This spring with the Wolfpack Meier was 4-4 with a 4.08 ERA. He struck out 48 while walking just 16 in ten appearances.