Portage graduate Tony Cheky is knocking on the door of achieving the dream of every child that grows up playing baseball. The Michigan State junior is expected to be selected in the 2014 Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft.
Cheky was a candidate to be drafted out of a high school in 2011, but he was not drafted and instead began his collegiate career playing for the Spartans. Per MLB Rule 4 Draft eligibility rules, Cheky was not eligible again until following his junior season, which will take place this spring.
Michigan State coach Jake Boss projects Cheky to be picked somewhere between the 10th and 15th rounds, but a strong junior season could cause his stock to rise even further.
“If he were to have a really good year and steal a lot of bags, he runs so well that it could be anywhere from the fifth to the 10th,” Boss said. “You just don’t know. He’s got to go out and do it, but he’s certainly capable of it.”
The left-handed hitting center fielder has posted a career .293 batting average with 18 RBIs and 38 stolen bases through his first two seasons at Michigan State.
“He’s a tough, hard-nosed competitor who really will do anything for this team and who will do whatever it takes to be successful on the field,” Boss said. “He runs so well. Defensively, he’s outstanding. Offensively, he’s really learned how to become more a complete hitter and how to use his speed to his advantage.”
Boss expects Cheky’s productivity to continue to climb this season.
“We’re really looking for him to take a big jump this year,” Boss said. “That’s going to be tough for him to do in the sense that he’s already had two very good years for us, but I think he’s capable of taking his game to the next level and putting himself in a position where he can be a pretty good draft pick as far as pro baseball is concerned.”