Six Trojans selected so far in MLB draft

USC baseball may have only logged a 28-28 season in 2009, but six Trojans have already been selected in this week’s MLB draft.

Highly touted junior shortstop Grant Green was the first to go, in the first round at 13th overall to the Oakland Athletics.

Green hit .374 with four home runs and 32 RBI this season for the Trojans. In his three years, his .359 career average places him sixth on USC’s all-time list.

Under baseball rules, Green still retains his eligibility to return to USC for his senior season if he wishes, but the 21-year-old has stated in the past that he feels ready to sign and go to the minor leagues.

Last year’s No. 13 selection, former Pac-10 player of the year Brett Wallace, signed for a 1.84 million signing bonus with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Green’s advisor, Scott Boras, has a history of holdouts and long negotiations with top prospects.

Two other top USC juniors made waves on the first day of the draft, as righthander Brad Boxberger was selected 43rd overall by the Cincinnati Reds and catcher Robert Stock was taken with the 67th pick by the St. Louis Cardinals.

Boxberger started his college career on the right track, earning second-team All-America honors and posting a 3.20 ERA as a freshman, but he slipped in 2008 and went 2-4 with a 6.14 ERA. He then spent the summer in the Cape Cod Baseball League and shined as a closer for the Chatham A’s before establishing himself as USC’s ace in 2009. In 14 starts, he went 6-3 with a 3.16 ERA and garnered All-Pac-10 honors.

Boxberger’s father, Rod, was a first-round pick of the Houston Astros in 1978 out of USC. Rod Boxberger pitched six minor league seasons but never made a big-league appearance.

Stock enrolled in USC after his junior year at Agoura High— where he was named Baseball America Youth Player of the Year — but failed to improve much at the plate in his three years as a Trojan. He never hit above .300 and recorded only a .226 average this season.

Stock began the season as the Trojans’ closer but moved to the rotation mid-season. He became the Saturday starter for USC, going 5-4 and registering a 2.90 ERA. Stock struck out 66 hitters in 59 and two-thirds innings, but he has voiced a desire to play catcher at the next level and the Cardinals drafted him as a backstop.

On the second day of the draft, three more Trojans were picked.

Senior lefthander Anthony Vasquez and junior catcher Hector Rabago were each picked in the 18th round, by the Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees, respectively.

Vasquez went 4-6 with a 4.33 ERA in his final year with USC after transferring from Texas A&M prior to his sophomore season. He also served as a middle-of-the-lineup bat for the Trojans, hitting .307 with six home runs in 2009, but he was selected as a pitcher by the Mariners.

Starting the season at second base Rabago hit only .257 in 183 bats but showed improvement defensively when he played primarily at catcher as the season went on. College catchers are often looked at as a valuable commodity in the draft.

Senior righthander Daniel Cooper marked the final Trojan selection of the day, going in the 21st round (623rd overall) to the Mariners. Before 2009, Cooper had pitched just 18 and two-thirds major college innings, allowing 14 earned runs. This season, though, Cooper became USC’s most effective reliever, recording 34 and two-thirds innings pitched with a 2.08 ERA. The six-foot-three, 203-pound Cooper transferred to USC from Rice before his junior season.

With the third day of the draft — meaning rounds 30-50 — yet to come, there are other Trojans who could hear their names called: namely junior righthander Kevin Couture.