MANHATTAN, Kan. – K-State left-handed pitcher Jordan Wicks became the program’s first first-round draft pick Sunday evening, as he was selected 21st overall by the Chicago Cubs in the 2021 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
“I couldn’t be happier to be a Chicago Cub,” Wicks said in an interview with ESPN following his selection. “[I bring] a premier sense of competitiveness. I want to win more than anyone out there. I’m ready to bring that to Chicago. I attack hitters and I am so excited.”
Wicks, who was the first collegiate left-hander taken, becomes the fifth K-State player taken by the Cubs and first since Gerardo Esquivel in 2009. He was the 10th pitcher selected overall (seventh collegiate pitcher) in this year’s draft and the first player taken from the Big 12.
“It’s a surreal moment,” added Wicks with MLB Network. “It’s the stuff you dream about. I couldn’t be happier to be wearing blue and red, that’s for sure.
“I’m a guy that’s about winning. I’m a guy that’ll show up and do anything possible to help your club win and help your club reach the postseason and a World Series – because that’s my goal. My career will be a success if I’m standing on that stage holding that World Series trophy.”
Wicks is the third Wildcat taken within the first three rounds of the MLB Draft. Jack Woolsey was K-State’s highest selection when he was taken in the second round (42nd overall) in the 1969 MLB Draft by the San Francisco Giants. Carter Jurica was picked in the third round by the Giants in 2010 (105th overall).
“He’s been hungry since the day he stepped on campus,” K-State head coach Pete Hughes said of Wicks. “He’s just wired differently. He’s always hungry and looking to get to a different level, looking to win and be a good teammate. Those guys usually have really long careers.”
Hughes has now tutored 76 draftees in his 24-year head coaching career, as Wicks becomes the 17th taken within the first 10 rounds and second first-rounder. Wicks is the second draft pick in Hughes’ three seasons at K-State.
Wicks’ selection caps a season that included being named All-America Third Team (Collegiate Baseball), All-Central Region Second Team (ABCA/Rawlings), All-Big 12 First Team and National Pitcher of the Week.
In his three-year Wildcat career, the Conway, Arkansas, native was named 2019 Big 12 Freshman of the Year, 2019 Freshman All-America, 2020 Summer Breakout Prospect Award Winner (D1Baseball.com) and to the 2021 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Preseason Watch List.
The southpaw became the first Wildcat to earn All-America (third team or better) honors from Collegiate Baseball since 2013. Wicks was a Preseason All-America Third Team pick by Collegiate Baseball prior to the 2021 campaign.
In 2021, Wicks led the Wildcats with six victories to go with a 3.70 earned run average. He struck out a single-season program record 118 batters to lead the Big 12 during the regular season and shattered the K-State career strikeout mark with 230 career strikeouts.
Wicks turned in seven quality efforts and went at least five innings in all 15 starts this season. He totaled a team-high 92 1/3 innings, issuing just 28 walks, with opponents hitting .249 against him.
In 34 career starts, he went 15-6 with a 3.24 ERA, logging 203 innings with 230 strikeouts against just 58 walks. Wicks’ career earned run average is 10th best among qualified pitchers in Wildcat history.
In his freshman-of-the-year campaign in 2019, he broke the program’s freshman records in both innings pitched (84 2/3) and strikeouts (86) – both of which had stood since 1973.
Wicks’ selection marks the 17th time in the last 18 seasons in which a Wildcat was chosen in the MLB Draft, with last year’s shortened five-round Draft being the only year in which a K-State player was not taken. Wicks is the first Wildcat pitcher taken since the 2017 MLB Draft (Jordan Floyd, Parker Rigler).
The 2021 MLB Draft continues Monday with rounds 2-10, beginning at 12 p.m. CT. The 20-round Draft concludes Tuesday at 11 a.m. with rounds 11-20. The final two days of the Draft can be streamed at MLB.com.