Wednesday was a big day for TCU Baseball, as five players were selected in the later rounds of the MBL Draft.
The afternoon kicked off with the selection of Josh Watson in the 15th round by the Oakland A’s. That was followed by a pair of TCU catchers, as juniors Zach Humphreys and Alex Isola went off the board in the 26th and 29th rounds, respectively.
Humphreys was the first to go; the junior was picked by the Milwaukee Brewers.
Humphreys made 36 starts this past season between catcher, DH, and third base, filling in wherever he was needed as injuries attacked the lineup. His .277 batting average was the best of his career, as were the 10 doubles and three home runs. He batted in 34 RBIs to boot. In a three year career, he has played in 130 games, starting as a DH as a freshman before taking over full time behind the plate last season. When Alex Isola joined the team, he took on more of a utility role, but became crucial down the stretch when Isola was injured.
Isola himself went three rounds later to the Minnesota Twins after just one season in Fort Worth.
In his first year in Funky Town, Isola started 49 games and made 54 total appearances. He hit .267 with seven doubles and five home runs, and was a solid defender behind the plate for the Horned Frogs.
If either or both of these players elect to go pro, it would certainly leave the Horned Frogs in a bind, as they do not have another catcher currently listed on the roster (2019 commit Kurtis Byrne was selected by the Cardinals in the 38th round but is expected to make it to campus). Catcher is a tough position to predict, as the wear and tear will certainly factor into both player’s decisions.
In one of the best moments of the draft, fifth year senior Jared Janczak was taken by the Cleveland Indians in the 31st round.
One of the all-time greats at TCU, Janczak battled back from injuries last year to post 33 strikeouts in 39.1 innings, culminating a career that saw him start 40 games, strike out 256 batters (in 257 innings), and finish with a 3.11 ERA. Janczak was an All-American in 2017, when he was 9-2 with a 2.31 ERA, and a two-time all-conference selection.
The final TCU draft pick was junior right hander Jake Eissler, who was the second Frog picked by Cleveland on the day.
A junior, Eissler has made 55 appearances in three years, including eight starts. He has been at his best out of the bullpen, though, where he proved his worth as an innings eater and run stopper with 146 strikeouts in 127.2 innings pitched. His best season was his sophomore campaign, when he 5-1 with a 3.24 ERA, striking out 58 and walking just one.
He started his season out of the pen, but when injuries hit the rotation, he became a starter. Though he struggled in that role, he gained his momentum as a reliever down the stretch, and looked like his old self in the post season.
In other critical news, the only big time recruit to be drafted early this year was pitcher Quinn Priester, who went in the first round. Pitcher Jacob Meador went in the 31st round, while fellow arms Riley Cornelio and Drew Hill were undrafted despite having top 100 ratings. Outfielder Sam Thompson also went unselected. It’s not unreasonable that, outside of Priester, all will make it to campus - a far cry from the last several years, where most of Jim Schlossnagles’ top recruits have chosen to go pro.
Should either or both Humphreys and Isola return, which is likely, along with Eissler, the Frogs will be stacked in 2020. During his 16 seasons as TCU’s head coach, Jim Schlossnagle has seen 84 players drafted by 27 organizations.