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Racers hear name in 2017 MLB Draft

By EDWARD MARLOWE emarlowe@paducahsun.com

The Murray State Racers kept a close eye on Wednesday's Day 3 of the Major League Baseball Draft and followed along as one current player and two future players learned of their professional prospects.

It all began when the New York Mets selected Daviess County star Jack Schneider at 337th overall in the 11th round. Schneider hasn't suited up for the Racers and is part of the 2017 signing class of head coach Kevin Moulder, but even after announcing his signees last November he knew Schneider had a chance to get picked.

"Jack is a special athlete who has a chance to be a special player with some development," Moulder then noted. "He is honestly one of the most gifted players in terms of raw ability and tools I have ever recruited.

"He is highly regarded in the national rankings of high school players and will have a pretty good chance to be a draft pick this coming summer. Jack had a lot of opportunities in terms of where he could go to school, but loves Murray State and has many family ties to the university."

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound outfielder does a little pitching and -- according to Prep Baseball Report (PBR) -- can showcase a 96 mph fastball, 74 mph curveball and an 82 mph changeup. He recently posted a 6.3 60-meter dash and a 98 mph throw from the outfield.

Later, the Racers learned one of their senior relievers, Derrik Watson, is headed to the Colorado Rockies after being taken 746th in the 25th round.

Watson, a St. Louis native, appeared in 33 games over two seasons -- pitching 41.2 innings with a 3-3 record. In 21 appearances this past year, Watson finished with a 9.89 ERA, 38 strikeouts and just 14 walks. Though tagged for some earned runs, he can showcase a 98 mph fastball and immediately brings high-major heat to a club.

Watson is the first entrenched Racer to be selected in the draft since Wes Cunningham was taken in the 17th round of the 2010 MLB Draft.

MSU's final draft prospect of the day was Will Moriarty, a South Oldham star set to join the Racers this fall.

The 6-foot-5, 215-pound right-hander was taken by the Texas Rangers as the 974th overall pick in the 32nd round. According to PBR, he commands a max fastball at 94 mph with an 82 mph changeup and a mid-70s curveball. Just recently, he was named the Eighth Region Player of the Year.

"Will is a big man who is gifted athletically and equally, or more importantly, academically," noted Moulder on signing day. "He is extremely versatile, as he as the ability to play the outfield and first base and will also pitch for us.

"He is a middle-of-the-lineup type bat and certainly a physical presence in any lineup and has big power potential."

Gutzler named second team All-American

Alongside draft news, the Racers learned that outfielder Brandon Gutzler received more accolades for his strong 2017 campaign, as he was named Second Team All-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA).

The junior from St. Louis had one of the best offensive seasons in program history behind a .353 batting average with 16 home runs, 71 RBIs, 17 doubles and 57 runs scored. The 16 and 71 are both the second-most in MSU history, while the 57 runs are the fifth-best.

In May, Gutzler was named First Team All-OVC after he led the Racers with 24 multi-hit and 19 multi-RBI games. He also began the season with a 44-game on-base streak, which was the longest in the nation at the time it ended.

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