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BYU baseball: Walton will tee it up on draft day

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Kent Walton

Kent Walton

PROVO — With the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft opening today, you won't find BYU junior outfielder Kent Walton staring at a computer screen, waiting to see if he will be selected.

Instead, he says he'll be playing golf somewhere in Arizona with his father, Kenneth.

"Some guys spend all day in front of their computers, following the draft to see where they might get taken," Walton said. "I'm not going to do that. I don't want to dwell on it and end up being disappointed. I have no expectations. If someone wants to pick me up, great. If not, I look forward to coming back to BYU for my senior year."

BYU coach Vance Law knows Walton's goal is to play in the majors and, though Walton might be on a golf course, the draft won't be far from his thoughts.

"It'll be in the back of his mind," Law said. "It's a childhood dream for him to play at that level. I'm sure he'll have his cell phone on."

During the recently completed BYU season, Walton hit .309 with 12 doubles, seven triples, four home runs and 14 stolen bases. Walton said he hasn't thought about what would happen if he were a low-round pick and faced with the decision to turn pro or return to Provo.

"You never know when or where you could be drafted," Walton said. "I'm not making any decisions until that time comes."

Walton, who hails from Yucaipa, Calif., grew up as a big fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and his favorite player was former Dodger catcher Mike Piazza. "I played catcher in little league, so I really liked Piazza," Walton said.

If Walton does not turn pro, he plans on playing summer ball in Wisconsin before returning to BYU in the fall.

Besides Walton, a couple of other Cougars could have their names called during the draft. With no seniors on the roster, any draftees from BYU would be underclassmen. Sophomore Sean McNaughton, who hit a team-leading .347 and smacked a team-high 14 home runs, junior shortstop Daniel Vargas and junior catcher J.T. Musso each have a chance of being drafted.

Meanwhile, Law said as many as five of his incoming recruits could be selected as well.

Right-handed pitchers Marc Oslund and Nathan Bunch are among those who could be picked. Oslund, a 6-foot-4, 215-pounder, posted an 8-0 record as a pitcher and played quarterback in football at West High in Torrance, Calif. Bunch, a 6-3, 180-pound native of Renton, Wash., struck out 16 batters in a one-hitter in April for Hazen High. Both Oslund and Bunch signed with the Cougars during the spring.

Another player who has committed to BYU who might be drafted is right-handed pitcher Jeremy Toole, a 6-3, 235-pounder from Alvin Community College in Houston, Tex. He was a 41st-round draft pick of the Kansas City Royals in 2006.

Right-hander Adam Miller and left-hander Nik Turley are also prospective draft picks. Miller, a 6-foot, 175-pound native of Yucaipa, Calif., has a fastball clocked at 94 miles per hour, and Turley, a 6-4, 210-pounder, prepped at Harvard Westlake High in La Canada, Calif. Toole, Miller and Turley all signed with BYU last fall.

E-mail: jeffc@desnews.com