Dublin Villager

Baseball

Jerome grad King signs with New York Mets

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Jared King continues to follow the path of his older brother.

A 2010 Dublin Jerome High School graduate and outfielder, King was selected by the New York Mets in the fifth round (146th overall) of Major League Baseball's first-year draft on June 7.

He played three seasons at Kansas State University but decided to forego his senior season and signed with the Mets.

Jason King, a 2007 Jerome graduate, was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 48th round (1,406th overall) in 2007 but opted to play for Kansas State instead of turning professional. He re-entered the draft in 2011 and was selected in the fourth round (137th overall) by the Detroit Tigers.

"It's been exciting," Jared said of being drafted by the Mets and starting his pro career. "(Jason) was really happy for me when it happened. It's an exciting time for both of us. We're both chasing the same dream (of playing at the major league level), so hopefully one of us or both of us can get there someday. We'll keep grinding it out and see what happens."

Jason, 24, is a third baseman for the West Michigan Whitecaps, the Tigers''Class A affiliate in the Midwest League. Through 81 games this season, he was batting .204 with four home runs and 13 RBI.

Jared has reported to the Mets' short-season Class A affiliate, the Brooklyn Cyclones, who are in the New York-Penn League.

"It's been good so far," Jared said. "I'm enjoying myself. I had been to the Bronx before for a weekend but had never been to Brooklyn. It's been awesome. I've really enjoyed my time being in New York City."

Jared, 21, grew up a fan of the Cincinnati Reds, but, not surprisingly, his allegiance has changed.

"I'm a Mets fan now," he said. "It's the team I'm playing for now and the ultimate goal is to get to the major leagues so I'm definitely a big fan of the club, and it's a great organization to be a part of, so I'm excited."

Jared, who is a switch-hitter, played center field at Jerome and Kansas State, but he has been playing left field for the Cyclones.

According to the scouting report on MLB.com, Jared's best tool is his bat and he can hit for average and power because he has "tremendous bat speed with a short stroke from both sides of the plate and the ball carries off his bat." The report said he "might be better suited for a corner outfield spot" because his arm is "his weakest tool."

This spring, Jared helped lead Kansas State to the Big 12 Conference title, which marked the program's first conference championship since 1933, and a berth in a NCAA Division I Super Regional. He hit .335 with 53 RBI, 16 doubles, two triples and seven home runs in 64 games and was named first-team all-Big 12, as the Wildcats finished 45-19.

"We had the best year in the school's history, so I couldn't ask for a better way to go out," Jared said.

As a sophomore in 2012, Jared was the Big 12 batting champion with a .378 average, earning him first-team American Baseball Coaches Association all-region and second-team all-Big 12 honors.

Overall that season, he hit .377 with 15 doubles, four triples, seven home runs and 47 RBI in 58 games.

In 2011, Jared batted .307 with 12 doubles, two triples, eight home runs and 40 RBI in 50 games and earned freshman All-American honors from Collegiate Baseball and made second-team all-Big 12.

"I was physically and mentally prepared to play at the next level (as a freshman), so the opportunity arose," Jared said. "I thought it was my time to go and I left my mark on K-State's program, and that's what I wanted to ultimately do. I think I've fulfilled that pretty well."

As a senior at Jerome, Jared batted a program-record .574 with 26 RBI in 30 games and was the Division I state and district Player of the Year and OCC-Cardinal Division Player of the Year.

"The kids in the program continually see (the King brothers), so they can put that together that the hard work and dedication can pay off down the road," Jerome coach Chris Huesman said. "We're excited about (their professional careers) and I know they are, too."

Jared credits his days at Jerome as a key to his development.

"Starting in high school, that's where it all started," he said. "You have to go back to where you're from and who got you to where you are. All the coaches at Jerome and coach Huesman definitely groomed me into who I am today. I can't thank them enough."

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