Kentucky junior outfielder Ka’ai Tom has been selected in the fifth round of the 2015 MLB Draft, going No. 154 overall, to the Cleveland Indians, it was announced on Tuesday afternoon.
A native of Kaneohe, Hawaii, Tom is the second Kentucky player picked in the 2015 MLB Draft, joining Kyle Cody, who was selected in the second round by the Minnesota Twins.
Tom, a 5-foot-9, 185-pound left-handed hitter, has totaled a .352 career average in two seasons with the Wildcats. Tom has 148 career hits, the second-most hits for a two-year UK player in program history, just behind Sawyer Carroll (2007-08; 173). Tom ranks 28th in UK career annals in hits, while charting 29 doubles, one triple, eight homers and 92 RBI, stealing 29-of-34 bases in his career. Tom has a 45-43 walk-strikeout ratio in his career, with a .429 on-base percentage.
As a junior in 2015, Tom led UK with 51 RBI and a .375 average, with 16 doubles, one triple, five homers and 51 RBI, stealing 15-of-16 bases. A first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection in 2014, Tom reached base safely in 51 of his 55 games in 2015 and in 99 of his 109 career games.
After a one-year junior college career at Fort Scott (Kan.), Tom joined the UK roster in 2014 and immediately slid into the lineup behind unanimous national player of the year AJ Reed. Tom hit .328 in 2014, with 13 doubles, three homers and 412 RBI, stealing 14-of-18 bases. He batted .373 in SEC play in 2014, narrowly missing the batting crown in league games.
Kentucky has had a program-record 40 players drafted or sign a professional contract in the seven years of the UK head coach Gary Henderson era. Since Henderson and recruiting coordinator Brad Bohannon arrived on campus in 2004, Kentucky has had 62 players drafted or sign a professional contract, including 21 in the first-10 rounds. Tom is the 125th player in UK history to be picked in the MLB Draft.