Benenati, Duensing Selected on Day Two of MLB Draft

MANHATTAN, Kan. – K-State senior pitcher Lucas Benenati was the lone Wildcat letterwinner taken on day two of the Major League Baseball Draft as the right-hander was selected by the Cincinnati Reds in the 10th round (288th overall) on Friday.

Benenati is the first Wildcat drafted by the Reds since James Allen in 2011 (seventh round) and seventh overall in program history. It is also the second year in a row a K-State pitcher was taken in the top-10 rounds of the MLB Draft as Benenati’s former teammate, Nate Griep, was selected in the eighth round in 2015 by the Milwaukee Brewers.

Benenati was joined by K-State signee Cole Duensing as the two Wildcats selected on day two. An incoming freshman out of Blue Valley Northwest High School (KS), Duensing was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels in the sixth round (186th overall).

A former transfer from Santa Barbara City College (CA), Benenati made 44 appearances for K-State over the last two seasons, including a career-high 23 this year. The right-hander served as the Wildcats’ closer in 2016 and notched six saves, the most by a K-State pitcher since 2013, while posting a 3.81 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 28 1/3 innings. The Santa Barbara, California native also helped the K-State pitching staff register the third most strikeouts (440) in school history.

As a redshirt junior in 2015, Benenati was one of K-State’s top relievers with a 2-0 record, 2.27 ERA, 26 strikeouts and eight walks in 21 appearances. The 26 punchouts were tops among K-State relievers while his outings were the third most on the team.

Duensing is a two-time all-state selection by the Kansas Association of Baseball Coaches (KABC). After being selected to the all-state second team as a junior, he picked up first team honors this past spring following a campaign in which he went 6-3 with a 1.33 ERA and 69 strikeouts in 52 2/3 innings. In 2015, he was 5-1 with a 1.76 ERA, 59 strikeouts and nine walks. 

It marks the second straight year a K-State signee was taken on the second day of the draft. Last year, Willie Calhoun was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fourth round.

K-State has featured a letterwinner drafted in the top-10 rounds in four straight years and in eight of the last nine.

The third and final day of the 2016 MLB Draft, which features rounds 11-40, starts at 11 a.m. CT on Saturday.

K-State Draft Picks in 2016 MLB Draft
Round 6 (No. 186 overall): RHP Cole Duensing, Los Angeles Angels
Round 10 (No. 288 overall): RHP Lucas Benenati, Cincinnati Reds