Ryan Noda and A.J. Bumpass were both important parts of the Cincinnati Bearcats baseball program this past spring. We at Down the Drive knew that, but it appears that some bigger organizations did as well.
Both Noda and Bumpass were selected in the late rounds of the MLB Draft this week, with Noda going in the 15th round (No. 459 overall) to the Toronto Blue Jays and Bumpass being taken with the No. 857 overall pick in 29th round by the Cincinnati Reds. The two are the first Bearcats to be drafted since Ian Happ went ninth overall in 2015.
Due to the late stage at which they were drafted, its unlikely that either will forgo their next season with UC in favor of professional ball, but it is still a testament to their skill and potential.
We’ve already touched on Bumpass’ potential before, but if you need a refresher, here you are. The sophomore outfielder slashed .287/.384/.491 with 26 extra-base hits, including seven home runs, which ranked second on the team. He also led the way in RBI (40) and was one of two players to eclipse 100 total bases.
Noda didn’t have the average working for him as much, but he had the most pop of anyone in the lineup, launching a career-high nine home runs while slugging .478. He also stole nine bases and committed just one error at first base all season.
Being taken in the late rounds also doesn’t mean there is no hope at a successful MLB career. Although getting there as a drafted player is much more difficult than it is for someone who gets taken in the NBA or NFL versions, there have been some historic greats that have come from the area Noda and Bumpass were selected. Cy Young award winner and three-time All-Star Jake Peavy was taken by the San Diego Padres in the 15th round of the 1999 MLB Draft and Ken Griffey Sr. was also taken in the 29th round by the Reds in 1969.