Washington State University second baseman Tommy Richards was selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the 24th round of the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft Wednesday.
Richards was the fourth pick in the round and the 732nd selection overall. He joins first baseman Taylor Ard (seventh round/Seattle Mariners) and outfielder Derek Jones (eighth round/Colorado Rockies) as Cougars drafted this season.
“I couldn’t be more excited,” Richards said. “To be taken with the other (WSU) seniors is an honor. I am and will always be a Cougar and it is so cool that a group of us were drafted together.”
A native of Bend, Ore., Richards batted .289 and set a Washington State single-season record for fielding percentage by a second baseman at .983. He was involved in 47 of the Cougars’ Pac-12 leading 64 defensive double plays.
The senior is the highest Cougar drafted at his position since Greg Hunter went to the Mariners in the 23rd round of the 1990 draft. Richards is the third Washington State student-athlete to be drafted by the Orioles joining pitcher Bryce Chamberlin (2004) and Jones (2011).
Washington State University outfielder Kyle Johnson was selected by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the 25th round of the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft Wednesday.
Johnson was the second Cougar of the day and the fourth this year to be drafted. He was the 19th pick in the round and the 777th overall. He joins first baseman Taylor Ard (seventh round/Seattle Mariners), outfielder Derek Jones (eighth round/Colorado Rockies) and second baseman Tommy Richards (24th round/Baltimore Orioles) as Cougars selected this year.
A senior, Johnson led the Pac-12 with 17 stolen bases in the regular season and helped the Cougars to a conference-leading 74 thefts in the regular season. He hit safely in 24 of his last 30 games, including 11 multi-hit efforts, to raise his nearly 100 points and finish the season at .309.
“I’m really happy to have a professional opportunity,” Johnson said. “Thank you to all my coaches from T-ball through college. I especially want to thank Donnie Marbut, Spencer Allen, Michael Naughton and Gregg Swenson for giving me the opportunity to play college baseball.”
A native of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Johnson is the sixth Cougar to be selected by the Angels. He joins John E. Olerud (1965), pitcher Brian Sajonia (1987), first baseman Casey Kelley (1998), pitcher Jayson Miller (2008) and pitcher Seth Harvey (2009).
Washington State University third baseman Patrick Claussen was selected by the Miami Marlins in the 34th round of the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft Wednesday.
Claussen was the third Cougar drafted Wednesday and the fifth in 2012. Other Washington State student-athletes selected were first baseman Taylor Ard (seventh round/Seattle Mariners), outfielder Derek Jones (eighth round/Colorado Rockies), second baseman Tommy Richards (24th round/Baltimore Orioles) and outfielder Kyle Johnson (25th round/Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim).
A native of Renton, Wash., Claussen was the ninth pick in the round and the 1,037th overall. He is the fourth Cougar to be drafted by the Marlins joining pitcher Chad Miles (1994), third baseman Paul Gran (2008) and pitcher Adam Conley (2011). Gran is currently with Jacksonville (AA) and Conley is with Greensboro (A) in the Marlins' organization.
"I'm very blessed and fortunate," Claussen said. "I want to thank all my coaches throughout my career. Once a Cougar, always a Coug."
A senior, Claussen batted .301 in his final season with the Cougars. His 17 doubles are tied for seventh in the Pac-12. He started 53 games this season and is a three-time conference all-academic honoree.
"This is the best draft for me since I have been at Washington State," Cougar Head Coach Donnie Marbut said. "All of these guys worked very hard to have a professional opportunity and each one of them deserves it."