Oklahoma baseball: Sooners led all teams with 11 players drafted in MLB Draft

Jun 25, 2022; Omaha, NE, USA; Oklahoma Sooners head coach Skip Johnson looks over the field before the game against the Ole Miss Rebels at Charles Schwab Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 25, 2022; Omaha, NE, USA; Oklahoma Sooners head coach Skip Johnson looks over the field before the game against the Ole Miss Rebels at Charles Schwab Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports /

The MLB Drafted treated the Sooners well, thanks to the historic run in the CWS.

Through the 20 rounds of the MLB Draft, the Sooners had 11 players drafted, which led all programs in the process. Now, the decision-making comes into play; a handful of Sooners will decide to take the contract or come back to Oklahoma for another year.

It all started with Cade Horton,  who was selected 7th overall to the Chicago Cubs. The filthy right-hander was the hottest college prospect after his elite pitching performances through the NCAA tournament, topped off with the outings vs. Notre Dame, and Ole Miss in the CWS. The contract will be a much deserving $5.7 million guaranteed for the Norman High standout.

“His work ethic speaks for itself. How many people come back as he did in 15 months and do what he did? It’s pretty amazing. I’m super excited for him. I think it’s a testament to our development program at the University of Oklahoma,” Head Coach Skip Johnson said. 

Left-hander Jake Bennett was the following selection for the Sooners, being drafted by the Washington Nationals with the 45th pick in the second round. Bennett was the most trusted arm throughout the season for Oklahoma and continued to be reliable throughout the postseason. The big lefty finished with a 10-4 record and a 3.69 ERA.

“He’s like the poster child of our program. He came in as a freshman – body changed, delivery changed, makeup changed, command – everything you can think of from a pitcher, he did well in it. He’s going to be an innings eater in pro ball, ” Head Coach Skip Johnson said. 

Peyton Graham was arguably the best and most consistent Sooner throughout the 2022 season. Graham has progressed each season at Oklahoma and capped off with a high draft pick for the shortstop. The Tigers selected Peyton Graham in the second round with the 51st pick. The competitive, wiry infielder will fight his way into the mix in a Tigers uniform.

“A superstar that’s going to play a long time. He loves to compete. He wins every competitive thing we do on the field, whether it’s outfield, pop-ups, bunting – he’s going to win all of them because he’s so competitive,” Head Coach Skip Johnson said. 

Jimmy Crooks, the left-handed catcher with power, has displayed his clutch at-bats and leadership at OU. The St. Louis Cardinals selected crooks with the 127th pick in the 4th round. “Jimmy Rakes,” as they call him, blasted two homers in the CWS, both coming against Texas A&M.

“Any time you get a catcher who’s caught big arms on big stages, I think that’s an exciting history to have,” said Flores. “You look at Cade Horton for them (the seventh pick overall to the Cubs); that’s a big arm. He’s had big arms in his previous years at Oklahoma,” Director of Scouting Randy Flores said. 

Blake Robertson was drafted late in the MLB Draft his senior year of high school, and after transferring to Oklahoma, he finds himself drawn again. Robertson was selected No.224 in the 7th round to the Tampa Bay Rays. The OK native Edmond significantly boosted the Sooner’s infield and provided more firepower in the OU lineup. Robertson will now have a decision to make, whether to stay in Norman for another year or sign with the Rays.

Tanner Tredaway was conceivably the Sooner’s leader in the group, being one of the oldest, more experienced players on the team. We saw the clutch performances Tredaway had in the postseason, and he got rewarded for his play in the MLB Draft. He was chosen No. 290 overall in the 10th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The graduate, Trevin Michael, gave the Sooners a dominant arm out of the pen. Halfway through the season, Skip Johnson decided to go with Michael as the Sooners closer, and it paid off crucially. Michael finished the season with a 2.89 ERA, leading the team in saves with 10. The Detroit Tigers selected the Piedmont native with the 297th pick in the 10th round.

“Sandman.” David Sandlin caught fire late for Skip and provided another starter that could go long outings. Sandlin gave the Sooners 7 innings and 12 K’s vs. Texas A&M to send the Sooners to the CWS Championship Series. Sandlin was chosen No. 325 overall in the 11th round by the Kansas City Royals. Just like Robertson, Sandlin will have another tough decision to make. It will be a lift if Sandlin returns to Oklahoma; if not, the Sooners will have to rebuild the pitching staff.

Chazz Martinez was on many scouts’ radar before the season. It was a minor up and down season for the 6-foot-3 lefty, but he stepped up in big moments in the postseason as a middle-reliever. Martinez was chosen No. 505 overall in the 17th round by the Kansas City Royals. If Martinez returns, he will provide another arm with experience for Skip.

During his time in Norman, Javier Ramos has had a roller coaster ride, but he provides a fastball that sits Mid-90. The Rockies chose Ramos in the 18th round with the 536th pick. When Ramos is on, he gives the pitching staff a severe weapon, which is why he may come back for another season.

To start the season, Jaret Godman was the Sooner’s closer. After running into control issues and ERA boosting up, Godman saw his innings go down. Godman still stepped into prominent roles in the Sooner’s run, especially against Notre Dame in the CWS. The Boston Red Sox selected the righty in the 19th round, 579 overall picks.