By Ryan Atkinson
Globe Sports Writer
Matt Stalcup’s phone has some pretty cruel timing.
Of all the weekends in the year it chose this weekend — with the MLB First-Year Player Draft taking place — to go belly-up.
That’s no small problem for the Pittsburg State left-hander, who may need to take an important call on that phone if he is selected in one of the draft’s 40 rounds.
“I’m just hoping it holds out for the weekend,” said Stalcup, using his mother’s phone after his regular phone broke and his loaner phone began acting up.
Stalcup, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound senior pitcher, was part of the 2013 Baseball America 500, a list of the top 500 potential draftees.
He came in at No. 406, the fifth-highest-ranked player in the state of Kansas.
“It’s cool to see my name on there and see all the hard work starting to pay off,” Stalcup said.
Stalcup, who began his college career with two seasons at Allen County, ranked among the nation’s leaders in strikeouts per nine innings in both of his seasons at Pitt State.
The Baseball America rankings said Stalcup “gets strikeouts thanks to his 88-93 mph fastball, solid curveball and the deception provided by a delivery that one scout compared to Warren Spahn’s windmill.”
It’s that fastball and athleticism that Stalcup said scouts were excited about.
“They liked my athleticism and my fastball when it’s up in the power 90s or when I can get it around 93-94,” he said. “And I’m comfortable throwing four pitches. They see that versatility.”
Stalcup, from Wellington, Kan., said he didn’t start getting interest from Major League teams until the start of the school year, when the St. Louis Cardinals sent him a letter.
“They sent me a letter in the fall and after that, when the spring started, I started getting more interest and more letters,” he said. “I was getting interest from multiple teams. I knew I had a chance if I kept working hard.”
Stalcup didn’t let the extra attention or pressure get to him. He went 7-4 for the Gorillas with a 3.91 ERA, striking out 95 in 71 1/3 innings. He set a school record with 15 strikeouts in a seven-inning win over Central Oklahoma in March.
“Maybe there was a little extra pressure, but not much,” he said. “I put that aside and the only thing I was focused on was helping Pitt State win games.”
The draft began Thursday with two rounds and continues today and tomorrow with rounds 3 through 40.
Stalcup said he is paying attention but probably won’t start getting antsy until later tonight or Saturday, when he has a shot of being selected.
“It’s so hard to tell where I’ll go or if I’ll go or not,” he said. “Most of the guys I talked to said they would be excited to have me on their team. All I can do right now is wait and get ready.”