UK Standouts Kyle Cody & Ka'ai Tom Selected in 2015 MLB Draft
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Junior right-handed pitcher Kyle Cody of Kentucky has been selected in the second round, with the 73rd overall pick, by the Minnesota Twins in the 2015 MLB Draft, it was announced during the first day of coverage on Monday, June 8, from the MLB Network Studio 42 in Secaucus, N.J.
A native of Chippewa Falls, Wis., Cody is the 10th player in UK baseball history to be picked in the top two rounds.
Cody, a 6-foot-7, 245-pounder, has pitched in 47 games in his UK career with 28 starts, sporting an 11-7 record and a 4.40 ERA with five saves. Cody has worked 161.2 innings in his career, allowing only 156 hits and surrendering 50 walks, striking out 130.
As a junior in 2015, Cody appeared in 14 games with 12 starts, owning a 4-4 record and a 4.91 ERA. He worked 66 innings and allowing 63 hits and 17 walks, striking out 63.
During his 2014 season, Cody battled minor injury but appeared in 18 games with six starts, owning a 4-0 mark with a 2.84 ERA, saving five games. As a freshman in 2013, Cody had a 3-3 mark with a 4.84 ERA, with 47 strikeouts in 57.2 frames.
With unanimous national player of the year AJ Reed taken with the first pick in the second round of the 2014 MLB Draft and Cody selected in the supplemental phase of the second round, it marks the first time in Kentucky history UK has had consecutive seasons with players selected in the first two rounds.
Cody will be the fourth former Kentucky pitcher to be drafted by the Twins in recent years, with three former UK stars currently pitching for the Twins’ triple-A affiliate in Rochester, N.Y.
Cody will join Logan Darnell (2008-10), Alex Meyer (2009-11) and Taylor Rogers (2010-12) in the Minnesota Twins system. Darnell has a 1-0 record and a 3.93 ERA in 17 games in relief for Rochester in 2015 and made his MLB debut with the Twins in 2014. Meyer, a 6-foot-9, 225-pound righty, has worked 4.2 shutout innings over his last four appearances, all in relief, for Rochester and has a 3-3 record in 12 games in 2015. Rogers, a native of Littleton, Colo., has a 5-3 record and a 3.09 ERA in 11 starts for Rochester, fanning 50 in 70 innings. In 2013, former UK star Andrew Albers (2005-08) made his MLB debut with the Twins, before spending the 2014 season pitching professionally in Korea. Albers is currently in triple-A, and has appeared in the big leagues in 2015, with the Toronto Blue Jays.
* * *
UK junior outfielder Ka’ai Tom, meanwhile, also has been chosen in the MLB Draft as he was selected in the fifth round by the Cleveland Indians as the No. 154 pick overall on Tuesday, June 9.
A native of Kaneohe, Hawaii, Tom is the second Kentucky player picked in the 2015 MLB Draft, joining Cody, who was selected in the second round by the Minnesota Twins.
Tom, a 5-foot-9, 185-pound left-handed hitter, has totaled a .352 career average in two seasons with the Wildcats. Tom has 148 career hits, the second-most hits for a two-year UK player in program history, just behind Sawyer Carroll (2007-08; 173). Tom ranks 28th in UK career annals in hits, while charting 29 doubles, one triple, eight homers and 92 RBI, stealing 29-of-34 bases in his career. Tom has a 45-43 walk-strikeout ratio in his career, with a .429 on-base percentage.
As a junior in 2015, Tom led UK with 51 RBI and a .375 average, with 16 doubles, one triple, five homers and 51 RBI, stealing 15-of-16 bases. A first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection in 2014, Tom reached base safely in 51 of his 55 games in 2015 and in 99 of his 109 career games.
After a one-year junior college career at Fort Scott (Kan.), Tom joined the UK roster in 2014 and immediately slid into the lineup behind unanimous national player of the year AJ Reed. Tom hit .328 in 2014, with 13 doubles, three homers and 412 RBI, stealing 14-of-18 bases. He batted .373 in SEC play in 2014, narrowly missing the batting crown in league games.
Kyle Cody (left) and Ka'ai Tom
Photos by Chet White/UK Athletics