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Tabor baseball player drafted

Staff Writer

Tabor College catcher Tyson Kendrick, of Arkansas City, was drafted by the Detroit Tigers on June 9 in the 49th round of the Major League Baseball draft.

There was no fanfare. He didn’t walk up a red carpet. He didn’t put on a the hat of the team that picked him and mug for TV cameras. His pick wasn’t even announced on television.

Kendrick watched the picks on the Internet with his family and saw his name come across the screen.

He then got a call from the Tigers congratulating him on his selection.

“I don’t remember much of it,” Kendrick said of the conversation. “I was pretty much in shock.”

Kendrick expected to be drafted. Tabor College Head Baseball Coach Mark Standiford used his professional connections and got Kendrick a tryout with the Tigers Midwest regional scout.

This was Kendrick’s chance to shine and he was nervous.

“It’s been my dream for so long,” he said.

Standiford calmed Kendrick down.

“He reassured me that I could play and just told me to do my thing,” Kendrick said.

The Tabor College catcher worked out for the scout for about an hour. He blocked balls in the dirt, showed off his powerful throwing arm, and took batting practice. Standiford said while the scout looked at Kendrick’s stats and film from the season and interviewed Standiford and others about Kendrick, the tryout had sealed his draft status.

“He did a very good job in the tryout,” Standiford said. “I played pro-ball. I knew what to plan on.”

As a pick in such a late round, Kendrick knows he has to work for everything.

“I’m going to have to be the first one to the ballpark and the last one to leave,” he said. “I need to do all the little things right.”

Kendrick said that all of his coaches have preached this attitude.

“I’ve never been the most talented guy around,” he said.

Standiford praised Kendrick’s talent — his ability to hit to all fields — important with wood bats — and his strong throwing arm. However, he said Kendrick’s work calling pitches and the fact that Kendrick is a good teammate who easily gets along with position players and pitchers may make him stand out.

“He demands respect with the way he carries himself,” Standiford said.

Standiford has known Kendrick from the time the catcher took batting lessons with him at just 6 years old. Kendrick started his collegiate career at Allen County Community College and then transferred to Northwest Technical College because both schools eventually wanted him to switch positions.

“I wouldn’t want to be out there in any other spot,” Kendrick said of his position as catcher.

Standiford knew the type of player and person Kendrick was and knew that catcher was a good fit.

Playing catcher, as highly coveted as any position in major league baseball, is another advantage for Kendrick. While Standiford said Kendrick will have to prove himself at every level, if he proves himself as a catcher, he may have a shot at the big leagues.

“All you can ask for is a chance,” Standiford said. “He plays a position that is a hard one to play.”

Kendrick was named Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Baseball Player of the Year and earned first team all-KCAC honors as well as KCAC Player of the Week honors as the Bluejays everyday catcher this past season.

Kendrick led the KCAC and the Bluejays in batting average at .441, on base percentage at .521, hits with 71, and doubles with 19. He also led the Bluejays in slugging percentage at .634, ranking him third in the KCAC, and RBIs with 52, ranking him second in the KCAC.

Kendrick is currently in Florida in a minicamp for the Tigers. Kendrick said he is set to join the Connecticut Tigers, which is the Tigers Single A short season team.

“At Single A level, he should do fine,” Standiford said. “Short season is a very good place to be.”

Last modified June 17, 2010

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