June 6, 2008
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Washington State University seniors Paul Gran, Jim Murphy and Jayson Miller, and junior Matt Way were selected, Friday, in the 2008 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. The four selections are the most for Washington State since a quartet of Cougars were drafted in 2004.
A native of Bothell, Wash., Gran was drafted in the seventh round by the Florida Marlins. The third baseman batted .313 with 11 doubles, two triples, 11 home runs, and 55 RBI during his senior campaign and was an All-Pacific-10 Conference First Team selection. He started all 160 games in which he appeared as a Cougar.
Gran fielded .994, committing just one error in 163 chances as a senior. His .993 fielding percentage at third base set a Washington State single-season record for the position. He set a Cougar single-game record with 12 assists against Oregon State, May 4, and was named Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year. He finished his career 10th on the WSU all-time assists list with 387. Gran was the first player from a university in the Pacific Northwest selected in this year's draft and the second Cougar in school history to be drafted by the Marlins (Chad Miles, 1994, fourth round).
The highest Cougar selected since Bryce Chamberlin (sixth round, Baltimore) in 2004, Gran joins Ron Cey (1968, Los Angeles), Thomas Thomas (1971, Pittsburgh in 1971 June secondary phase), Don Long (1983, San Francisco), and Stefan Bailie (2001, Boston) as WSU players who were primarily third basemen in Pullman.
"I think the Marlins made a great pick," WSU Head Coach Donnie Marbut said. "He is one of the finest players in the country. Florida likes players who are good athletes and can do multiple things. I think Paul is good fit for the Marlins' system."
Gran added, "This is something I have been working toward for a long time and it's finally here. I am excited to start playing again in a couple of weeks."
Murphy was selected in the 17th round by the Philadelphia Phillies. He garnered All-Pac-10 honorable mention honors after batting .324 as a senior and leading the Cougars in home runs (16), RBI (61), total bases (138), slugging percentage (.667), walks (26) and on-base percentage (.445).
He left Washington State as the school record holder in career putouts (1,972, also eighth in NCAA history) and hit by pitches (61, also Pac-10 record and tied for eighth in NCAA history). He is tied for fourth on the WSU career list with 34 home runs, fifth in games played (218) and sixth in RBI (158). In 2008, he broke his own single-season school record with 574 putouts.
A native of Kirkland, Wash., Murphy is the most recent Cougar first baseman drafted and joins a list that includes notables John Olerud (1989, Toronto) and Casey Kelley (1988, Anaheim), who holds the Cougar single-season home run record (25, 1988). Murphy is the third Cougar to be selected in the 17th round by the Phillies. Philadelphia nabbed outfielder Joe Urbon in 1989 and outfielder Jay Miller, currently playing at the Advanced A level for the Phillies, in 2006.
"I am so happy for Jimmy," Marbut said. "He had a great senior year and this is fitting end to it. The Phillies have a great player and a great person."
Murphy added, "I'm ecstatic. This is a perfect cap to my senior year. I'm so excited to have the opportunity to play professionally."
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim made Miller their 30th-round selection. He was named Pac-10 honorable mention after posting an 8-1 record and 4.06 earned run average as a senior. The southpaw struck out a team-leading 74 and logged a team-high 99 and two-thirds innings.
A native of Richland, Wash., Miller finished his career tied for third on the Cougars' all-time list with 74 appearances and tied for sixth with 295 and two-thirds innings pitched.
Miller's eight victories were the most by a Cougar since Chamberlin in 2004. He pitched at least six innings in each of his 14 starts to become the first WSU hurler since Aaron Sele in 1990 (15 starts) to pitch at least six innings in 14-consecutive starts.
"I am so happy for Jayson," Marbut said. "His entire career he has proven people wrong and I would not be surprised to see him still pitching five years down the road."
Miller added, "I can't wait. I was sitting around hoping someone would give me a shot. I am just going to continue to work hard and try to move up (through the organization)."
Way was selected in the 36th round by the San Francisco Giants. The left-hander made 18 appearances, including five starts during his junior season. He was 4-4 with two saves and a team-leading 4.01 earned run average.
A native of Sitka, Alaska, Way struck out 68 in 74 innings and was named Pac-10 honorable mention. He is slated to play for the Wareham (Mass.) Gateman of the Cape Cod League this summer.
"It's nice to be drafted, but I am most likely coming back to school for my senior season," Way said.
Marbut added, "It is good to see Matt get drafted, but I look forward to next year when I believe he will be a much higher pick."
In addition to the four current Cougars drafted, six student-athletes who each signed a National Letter of Intent to attend Washington State beginning in fall 2008 were drafted.
Green River (Wash.) Community College right-handed pitcher Christian Scholl (eighth round, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim), West Valley (Spokane) High School outfielder Bryan Peterson (11th round, Boston Red Sox), Lewis-Palmer (Colo.) High School left-handed pitcher Bobby Hansen (18th round, Washington Nationals), Mountlake Terrace High School right-handed pitcher Jacob Theis (21st round, Kansas City Royals), Olympia High School left-handed pitcher Adam Conley (32nd round, Minnesota Twins) and Central Valley High School left-hander pitcher Rusty Shellhorn (39th round, Chicago White Sox) were all selected, Friday.
"We would love to have each one of our recruits who were drafted show up on campus," Marbut said. "We understand they all have a tough decision to make and we will support them through the process."