By Steve Lansdale
After five University of Texas baseball players were chosen in the first eight rounds of the Major League Baseball draft, six more Longhorns had their names called on the draft’s third and final day.
Pitcher Tyler Schimpf was taken in the 13th round (No. 396 overall) by the San Francisco Giants, outfielder Patrick Mathis went in the 22nd round (No. 661 overall) to the Houston Astros, pitcher Connor Mayes was selected in the 24th round (720 overall) by the Kansas City Royals, Zane Gurwitz was chosen as an infielder in the 26th round (775 overall) by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Travis Jones was tabbed as a utility player in the 29th round (870 overall) by the Royals and pitcher Jon Malmin got called in the 31st round (925) by the Angels.
Over the three-day event, 11 Longhorns were drafted, tying UT with the University of Michigan for the most players selected from any school in the country. In addition to the 11 UT players who were drafted, four recruits also were chosen: outfielder Tristen Lutz was taken in the first round (34th overall) by the Milwaukee Brewers, pitcher Landon Leach went three picks later, with the first pick in the second round, to the Minnesota Twins, pitcher Donny Diaz was chosen in the 23rd round (701st overall) by the Boston Red Sox and pitcher Blake Pflughaupt went in the 27th round (No. 799 overall) to the Tampa Bay Rays.
Schimpf will be returning to his home state after a redshirt sophomore season in which he pieced together a 1.56 earned run average, allowing three runs and just 11 hits over 17.1 innings. He also struck out 13 and held opposing hitters to a .180 batting average.
A junior outfielder in 2017, Mathis hit .245 this season with seven home runs, five doubles and 19 runs batted in despite missing a month of the season with a leg injury.
Mayes started in four of his 13 appearances on the mound in 2017, recording 22 strikeouts in 27 innings. Boasting a career ERA of 3.58, Mayes has appeared in 64 games, starting 19, and has four saves.
Normally the Longhorns’ center fielder, Gurwitz did play in both the infield and outfield during his tenure in Austin. One of UT’s best defensive players, Gurwitz made just two errors over the last couple of seasons while splitting time between second base and center field. As a senior he tied for the team with a .305 batting average; over his career, he hit .285 and had 14 home runs, 33 doubles, six triples, 22 steals and drove in 102 runs.
Jones was the only Longhorn to play in all 63 games in 2017, starting 61. He hit .253 and led the team with 18 doubles and 14 stolen bases. He drove in 32 runs and was hit by a pitch 15 times this season, moving him into a tie for ninth on the all-time list at UT with 23 in his career. Over his career, he hit .267; over the last two seasons, he hit seven home runs and 25 doubles, and drove in 54 runs.
Malmin came out of the bullpen 44 times during his career at Texas, posting a career ERA of 4.66, striking out 43 and allowing opponents a batting average of .269.