KENWOOD, Ohio -- Riley Mahan has always been a winner.
So the Miami Marlins knew exactly what they were getting Tuesday afternoon when they drafted the University of Kentucky junior second baseman and Moeller High School product in the third round (89th overall) of the Major League Baseball Draft.
“I am so happy for him,” Moeller coach Tim Held told WCPO.com Tuesday afternoon. “He’s always done things the right way. He never was ‘hey look at me.’ He worked every day at practice with us. He did the same thing at UK.”
Mahan, a 2014 Moeller graduate, was initially projected anywhere from the fifth to 10th rounds before the spring. But his stock rose throughout the season. He garnered three Southeastern Conference Player of the Week Awards and was named the SEC’s No. 31 draft prospect by DI Baseball.
Mahan, who is from Milford, was considered the best pure athlete on the Wildcats’ team that reached the NCAA Super Regional for the first time in program history. At 6 feet 2 and 195 pounds, Mahan has a sweet left-handed swing that is geared toward line drives but is capable of power.
Mahan hit .336 with 23 doubles and a team-leading 15 home runs and 67 RBI this spring for Kentucky (43-23). He had a slugging percentage of .618 and scored 58 runs with 41 extra-base hits.
Mahan played primarily second base and shortstop but also saw time at third. He significantly cut down on his errors this spring. He was a Dick Howser Trophy semifinalist and earned second-team All-America honors from Collegiate Baseball and third-team honors from Baseball America.
Mahan, 21, will be the 44th Moeller baseball player to play professionally, according to Held.
Mahan had a storied career on Montgomery Road. He helped lead the Crusaders to back-to-back Division I state titles in 2012 and 2013. Moeller was a state semifinalist his senior year.
He became part of 40-hit club in a season in 2013 with 43 hits. He is also tied for the second-most career triples (12) in program history with Barry Larkin, according to Steve Albrinck, Moeller’s director of athletic communications.
Mahan, who was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 40th round in 2014, also has the second most stolen bases in a season in school history with 27 his junior year of 2013. He has the second most career steals (50).
A preseason All-American his senior season at Moeller, Mahan was asked by the LaRosa’s High School MVP program what his future goal was at the time. His response was that he wanted to play in the majors.
Held is not surprised at what occurred three years later. Mahan's character and perseverance spoke volumes.
“He was always looking to extra reps,” Held said. “He was never satisfied with where he was.”