UT catcher Blake Forsythe hopes to catch on in MLB draft

Tennessee's Blake Forsythe (11) celebrates a home run with his teammates during the game against Alabama Saturday, May 22, 2010 at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

Photo by Chad Greene

Tennessee's Blake Forsythe (11) celebrates a home run with his teammates during the game against Alabama Saturday, May 22, 2010 at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

— Blake Forsythe isn't quite sure whether his name will be called during tonight's first round of Major League Baseball's First-Year Player Draft or Tuesday, when rounds 2-30 take place.

The former Christian Brothers High School and current University of Tennessee catcher has heard he will likely be taken in the first three rounds, or almost assuredly in the first five.

But one thing Forsythe is certain about is that whatever team selects him, he plans to be on their major league roster sooner rather than later.

"I'm a hard worker, and I'm going to go out there and give it everything I've got," Forsythe said. "Whoever decides to pick me, I'm going to do whatever I can to make it through their system as fast as I can.

"My goal is to play in the big leagues. I don't plan on making a career out of the minor leagues. I can guarantee them I'm going to push myself as fast as I can, or as much as I can, to get to the big leagues and help them out in anyway I can."

Forsythe is one of three local players expected to go high in this year's draft. Ole Miss junior Drew Pomeranz, a left-handed pitcher from Collierville, is expected to be a top 10 pick tonight, while Taylor Morton, a right-handed pitcher from Bartlett and a Tennessee signee, will likely hear his name called Tuesday.

Prior to his junior year at Tennessee this season, the 6-2, 220-pound Forsythe was projected by some as a possible first round pick. He was coming off a sophomore season in which he hit .347 with 15 homers and 46 RBI, and was named a first-team all-Southeastern Conference performer.

But a slow start at the plate this season may have contributed to his slight fall in pre-draft projections.

"I think I was just trying to do a little too much to carry the team, not just trusting myself," Forsythe said. "I was trying to make things happen instead of just letting them happen. I just finally realized I put the work in and I just need to sit back and trust myself and let things happen.

"Sure enough, they did and as it turned out, I finished really strong."

Forsythe is the younger brother of Logan Forsythe, who starred at Arkansas and is now in the San Diego Padres farm system.

In addition to his bat, Forsythe is an excellent defensive catcher.

He threw out 35 percent of would-be basestealers this season. Baseball America rates him the 12th-best catcher in the draft.

CBHS coach Buster Kelso isn't surprised. He put Forsythe on the varsity roster as a sophomore and watched him improve every year.

"By the time he was a junior, I felt like he was one of the top catchers I had ever coached," Kelso said. "As far as draftability, those are hard to project. But when he left here, I thought he was going to be a high draft pick."

In addition to his physical skills, Kelso believes it's Forsythe's leadership skills that set him apart.

"His senior year, we had a very young team, very few seniors," Kelso said. "And he led us to a state championship (in 2007). Without him, we don't even come close. His leadership, compounded by his strong attitude toward the game, it's just tremendous.

"There's not going to be many catchers out there better than Blake, collegiately or high school. He's the type of guy, they'll take him if he bats .250 because he's going to hit home runs. And he's just a good handler of pitchers."

Forsythe said he has received strong interest from several teams. He plans to watch the draft at home with his family.

Forsythe said he plans to remain on an even keel until his name is called. Then, it's time to start that journey to the big leagues.

Other players hoping to be drafted include University of Memphis players Brennon Martin, Tyler Huelsing and Ryan Fraser.

MLB First-Year Player Draft, Secaucus, N.J.

Today: Round 1, 6 p.m., MLB Network, MLB.com

Tuesday: Rounds 2-30, 11 a.m.

Wednesday: Rounds 31-50, 11 a.m.

© 2010 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 9

Futurecoach16 writes:

Good luck, Forsythe. Been a pleasure watching you wear the Orange the past three years. One of my favorites to watch.

Futurecoach16 writes:

And to those that are talking about all those guys that are going to leave the Vols, guys like Forsythe, Hawn, and Polk don't count due to the draft.

bryan14 writes:

in response to Futurecoach16:

And to those that are talking about all those guys that are going to leave the Vols, guys like Forsythe, Hawn, and Polk don't count due to the draft.

Why would it not count as "guy's leaving the program" if they are drafted? If Forsythe, Hawn & Polk do not return next season that will be three of the top eight position players (37.5%) not returning and all three are from Tennessee. By Mike Hamilton allowing this to play out for another year or two it is only going to cost the athletic department more money for someone and their staff to cleanup the program. The problem with the baseball program is that it has become a will of egos between Hamilton and the vast majority of the University of Tennessee baseball fans.

VolsToTheWall writes:

in response to bryan14:

Why would it not count as "guy's leaving the program" if they are drafted? If Forsythe, Hawn & Polk do not return next season that will be three of the top eight position players (37.5%) not returning and all three are from Tennessee. By Mike Hamilton allowing this to play out for another year or two it is only going to cost the athletic department more money for someone and their staff to cleanup the program. The problem with the baseball program is that it has become a will of egos between Hamilton and the vast majority of the University of Tennessee baseball fans.

i think he's implying you're gonna see a nice chunk of players leave because there's still a C in CTR

us43137415#376444 writes:

in response to Futurecoach16:

And to those that are talking about all those guys that are going to leave the Vols, guys like Forsythe, Hawn, and Polk don't count due to the draft.

Have to disagree with you on this one...

If a player is drafted, of course, they will "leave the program." And it will be because they "decided to leave." There have been players before, who were drafted, but actually turned down going, because they didn't think they were ready. When they went the next year, they commanded much bigger bucks because they waited.

That was a "decision" they made, to either stay or go. If they go, they "leave the program."

Forsthye, who is only a junior, could have also decided either to go, or not to go. But the article above gave it away:

"But one thing Forsythe is certain about is that whatever team selects him, he plans to be on their major league roster sooner rather than later."

That means if his name is called, he will decide right then whether to go or stay, and according to the above quote, he's going. Frankly, I don't think he's ready yet. There are plenty of good catchers in the minors right now, and some good ones in Florida and California, who I think are way ahead of him.

Forsythe is just ready right now to desert CTR's sinking ship, which is barely treading water right now. I see Hawn, Polk, Liles, Ramsey, Norfolk, and Thurber all going.. They'd probably leave because their names get called, or they'll just work with the team that originally drafted them, and then they'll decide to leave.

There are some that may leave because they're sick and tired of CTR.

Any guesses?

It's a slap in the face that Hamilton is ignoring the fans on this one. I think he's lazy..he just doesn't want to go through the process of looking for a new coach. This is what we pay him for.. just because we pay for baseball tickets and contribute to UT athletics, he thinks we work for him.

It's the other way around. He works for us.

Futurecoach16 writes:

I have thought, though never said, that Forsythe, Hawn, and Polk were going to be drafted and leaving after this year. This would probably have been the case no matter WHO was coaching the Vols. Therefore, it is not a defection against the coach or the university. That is them being good enough and ready enough to be drafted high enough to leave. Even if Liles leaves due to the draft, it doesn't really count. It is much more likely for a player to leave after his junior year due to the leverage he has on the club that drafts him. He can talk about staying in school to get more money from the club. If the club wants him badly enough, they will pay an even prettier penny to get him.

If a player stays at the same talent level or only improves a little, he will not get as much of a signing bonus after his senior year because he cannot opt to stay in school.

However, I will bite my tongue and eat crow if the likes of Osborne, Ramsey, Locante, etc. leave for another college, but I really don't see that happening.

olevole writes:

Why do we have to read about Vandy going to an NCAA Baseball Super Regional in the GoVolsXtra section of the paper--and about Vol underclassmen leaving?

Why was a Oregon, a school that had NO baseball program two years ago playing a final game in an NCAA regional while Hamilton was offering lame excuses about the time Raleigh needs to "turn around" a program that had been at the College World Series a short time before?

I don't know what was better news for Vandy this week--that they won a regional or that Hamilton is keeping Raleigh. Raleigh is the biggest in-state recruiting advantage that Vandy has. By keeping CTR, Hamilton gives the impression that we don't care that baseball is really bad at UT.

Those of us who really love the Orange know that is not true. But with Raleigh how can we explain it to the kids that ought to be coming here?

soknoxcomom writes:

Hey GVX, how about some coverage for Knoxville's own South-Doyle graduate, MTSU pitcher Bryce Brentz who went 36th to the Boston Red Sox in last night's draft?

bryan14 writes:

in response to olevole:

Why do we have to read about Vandy going to an NCAA Baseball Super Regional in the GoVolsXtra section of the paper--and about Vol underclassmen leaving?

Why was a Oregon, a school that had NO baseball program two years ago playing a final game in an NCAA regional while Hamilton was offering lame excuses about the time Raleigh needs to "turn around" a program that had been at the College World Series a short time before?

I don't know what was better news for Vandy this week--that they won a regional or that Hamilton is keeping Raleigh. Raleigh is the biggest in-state recruiting advantage that Vandy has. By keeping CTR, Hamilton gives the impression that we don't care that baseball is really bad at UT.

Those of us who really love the Orange know that is not true. But with Raleigh how can we explain it to the kids that ought to be coming here?

You are correct on two main issues:
1. Oregon reached the regional finals because they went out and hired a very good coach and paid him a big salary.
2. Yes, Tim Corbin did laugh in private when Tennessee hired TR as their baseball coach. He knew that he would be able to recruit the best athletes out of Knoxville & East Tennessee if he wanted them.

Until the University of Tennessee baseball program finds a "Sugar Daddy" that is willing to throw around some money to the baseball program the AD will continue to give you the shaft. Money talks in the athletic world & at the present time MH controls the $$$ and is not willing to spend what is necessary to have a successful baseball program.

I am not sure that MH really cares if the University of Tennessee wins national championships in sports other than football and basketball. It seems as if he would like to win but his main objective is for those sports to be competitive in the SEC & if they do well on the national level that is great.

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