By: Conor Fredland
Whiting, Ind.- The 2017 MLB Draft was stacked with promising talent that is heading to the minor leagues with their goal to make the major leagues.
The Midwest Collegiate League had five former members drafted in the 2017 MLB first-year player draft.
Jake Latz (Joliet, Ill./DuPage County Hounds) was selected in the fifth round by the Texas Rangers. Latz made two appearances in the playoffs for the DuPage County Hounds, helping the Hounds win the 2015 MCL Championship. During that period, Latz threw five innings, scattering four hits, walking three and striking out seven.
Latz, who is currently enrolled at Kent State was selected by the Texas Rangers in the fifth round. Before going to Kent State, he went to LSU. Latz struggled during his time at LSU throwing 8.2 innings with an ERA of 7.56, after that he decided to transfer to Kent State, but was not allowed to play his first season there because of transfer rules.
Latz was also part of the Lemont High School team that won the 2014 Class 3A state championship. During that season, Latz held an 10-0 record with a 0.23 ERA.
Pitcher Connor Ryan (Homer Glenn, Ill./Crestwood Panthers) was selected in the 8th round by the Cincinnati Reds. Ryan in 2016 at UIC had an ERA of 3.78 which was good for ninth best in the Horizon League.
Ryan is the highest draft pick from UIC since Curtis Granderson was selected in the third round by the Detroit Tigers in 2002.
Craig Dedelow (Munster, Ind./Northwest Indiana Oilmen), former Indiana Hoosier and Munster Mustang, was selected in the ninth round by the Chicago White Sox.
Dedelow improved his power numbers in his senior season with the Hoosiers. In 60 games he hit .258 and 19 home runs.
During his one year in the MCL, Dedelow was a member of the 2014 Northwest Indiana Oilmen. He led the Oilmen in batting average and RBIs, where he hit .319 and had 24 RBI.
Ben Hecht (Effingham, Ill./Lexington Snipes) was selected by the Chicago Cubs in the 12th round. Hecht was taken after finishing his junior season at Wichita State.
In his one season with the Shockers, he pitched 30.1 innings, posted a 5.04 ERA, issuing only 12 walks and striking out 42.
However, Hecht pitched in just one game for Lexington, where he threw five innings while allowing two earned runs against the Oilmen on June 1, 2014.
Another former Oilman, Donivan Williams (Oak Lawn, Ill./Northwest Indiana Oilmen) from Richards High School, was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 14th round. As a senior, Williams hit over .500, 10 home runs and driving in 49 runs.
Williams has not made a decision on whether or not to sign with the organization. Williams in a very short stint with Northwest Indiana batted .450 with one home run.
Williams said he enjoyed it a lot and it was fun playing with the team.
In the 30th round, Cody Bohanek (Oak Lawn, Ill./Crestwood Panthers), a shortstop from UIC was selected by the Houston Astros. As a Flame in 2017, Bohanek hit .297 with 47 RBI.
Bohanek was a former member of the Crestwood Panthers, the newest member of the MCL. In 2014 with the Panthers, Bohanek hit .459 and also played perfect defense in 23 games.
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