Lynnwood shortstop Kyler McMahan fields a ground ball on the run during a game against Snohomish on March 28, 2017, at Mountlake Terrace High School. (Ian Terry / The Herald)

Lynnwood’s McMahan keeping options open as MLB draft nears

LYNNWOOD — Kyler McMahan is in a good place.

While the former Lynnwood High shortstop isn’t likely to be selected when the three-day Major League Baseball draft begins Monday in Secaucus, New Jersey, with the televised first and second rounds on MLB Network, he could be selected on Day 2 when Rounds 3-10 are held.

Or he might not go until Day 3 when the final 30 rounds are held.

It doesn’t matter much to him because he has a fine consolation prize if he doesn’t go as high as he wants in the form of a scholarship to the top NCAA Division I program in the nation in Oregon State.

“I would say right now coming out of high school makes it a little bit easier because I’m not putting so much pressure on it,” McMahan said. “I’d say it makes it easier because there is less to worry about, because it’s not like it’s my last chance to go, because I still have a couple more chances.”

Players who attend four-year colleges aren’t eligible to be drafted again until after their junior year or after their 21st birthday — whichever comes first. Nevertheless that leaves at least two more chances for McMahan to be selected if he doesn’t go as high as he hopes this week.

Unlike former Archbishop Murphy and Oregon State standout Trever Morrison, who essentially told MLB teams he was going to OSU regardless of where he was selected out of high school, McMahan left the door open to potentially sign, if the money is right.

“I’m just keeping positive mind because either way it’s going to be beneficial for me in the future, whether I get the money and decide to go play pro ball and if that’s where I see myself the next couple years then great,” he said. “But if I see myself going to college, I mean shoot, they were the No. 1 team in the country this year. Either way there’s really no downside to it.”

McMahan entered the season ranked 100 among Baseball America’s top 100 high school prospects, though he curiously didn’t appear on the outlet’s top 500 draft prospects list, which also includes college players.

There is a good chance McMahan will be the only Snohomish County high school player selected, but it’s difficult to say for certain because of the unpredictable nature of the draft. There are nine Division I commits graduating from Wesco and Cascade Conference schools this year and it’s possible some team takes a flyer on any one of them.

There is the added benefit for McMahan in having a high school coach in Fraser Dizard who went through the same process. Dizard, a former hard-throwing Meadowdale southpaw, was the Washington State Gatorade Player of the Year and a high school All-American in 2000.

A 21st-round pick by Baltimore out of high school, Dizard eschewed signing with the Orioles in favor of a three-year career at the University of Southern California. Dizard was then taken by the Chicago White Sox in the 10th round of the 2003 draft out of USC and eventually reached Double-A with the organization before leaving professional baseball in 2006.

“I’ve kind of told him my two cents that I think he should go to college unless they offer him life-changing money,” Dizard said. “You can go back to college after you’ve played professional baseball, but you’ll never be an 18-year-old going in as a freshman and getting to really have that experience. And it makes it a lot tougher to go back if you’re going back when you’re 25.”

At 5-foot-11 and 170 pounds, McMahan doesn’t wow anyone with his size, but that belies what he can do on the field.

“He has an ability to make great plays on defense,” Dizard said. “He’ll make some plays where you think he has no chance and has to dive and gets up and throws a laser to first base and the guy is out.

“Another thing that stands out to me, for his size he can hit the ball a long ways. He probably weighs 170 pounds, but he hits it further than anyone out there. In BP he’s consistently hitting home runs, which I think is very rare at the high school level.”

McMahan is currently playing with his summer team, Taylor Baseball, and will continue with that program until he either signs a pro deal or heads to OSU. Once in Corvallis, the goal is to get on the field as soon as possible even if it means switching positions, though McMahan said that hasn’t really been addressed by the Beavers coaches.

The eventual goal of reaching the major leagues remains the same, but whether that begins with the 2017 draft or the 2020 draft remains to be seen.

Either way it’s a good place for an 18-year-old to be.

Follow Herald Writer Jesse Geleynse on Twitter.

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