Tennessee players selected in the 2017 MLB draft:
› Sixth round: Jordan Rodgers, Sr., 3B (Braves).
› 10th round: Kyle Serrano, RS Jr., RHP (Astros).
› 12th round: Hunter Wolfe (UT signee), RS Fr., SS (Pirates).
› 14th round: Zach Warren, Jr., LHP (Phillies).
› 20th round: Hunter Martin, Sr., RHP (Astros).
› 30th round: Jeff Moberg, Sr., 2B (Rockies).
KNOXVILLE — A trio of Tennessee baseball players and another signed to suit up for the Volunteers in 2018 were selected during the final day of the Major League Baseball draft.
That was just the start of the news Wednesday pertaining to a baseball program in transition.
By early evening, national college baseball writer Kendall Rogers reported new Tennessee coach Tony Vitello has hired University of Houston assistant Frank Anderson as pitching coach.
That report followed an unexpected revelation about a player Anderson could end up working with in Knoxville.
Kyle Serrano, the highly touted son of former coach Dave Serrano, told Sports Radio WNML he is considering returning to Tennessee for his redshirt senior season. The Astros selected him in Tuesday's 10th round after he left the university in the middle this past season due to an undisclosed medical problem.
His father resigned at the end of the season, casting further doubt the pitcher would re-enroll at Tennessee to complete an up-and-down college career.
"I feel I owe the University of Tennessee more," Kyle told WNML's "Sports Talk." "I didn't come to Tennessee just to get drafted real high after my junior year, or anything like that. I came here because I wanted to help Tennessee win and get back on the map. Unfortunately, I chose to do that with my dad as coach and it didn't work out. Some things don't work out.
"But we've got Coach Vitello now, and there's a really big part of me that wants to come back and help the program get back to where it should be and have a good year and give Tennessee what Kyle Serrano was supposed to be like the whole time."
Perfect Game ranked Kyle Serrano the No. 7 right-handed pitcher in the country out of high school. Even after dealing with injuries throughout his college career, he entered the 2017 season 93rd on Baseball America's list of top 100 draft prospects.
"I've talked to Coach Vitello a lot the last week," Kyle Serrano said, "and he's made it real clear that he would like to have me back."
It appears as though Vitello's first Vols team will lose at least one pitcher with eligibility remaining to the professional ranks.
Zach Warren, a left-hander from Vineland, N.J., posted on Twitter that he is "ready to grind" with the Philadelphia Phillies, who selected him in the 14th round.
"Honored to be drafted by my hometown team," he posted. "Didn't even have to buy a hat."
Warren's hometown is less than 40 miles from Citizens Bank Park, where the Phillies play their home games. He had a 6.31 ERA in 18 appearances for Tennessee in 2017.
Just one player in Tennessee's 12-man 2017 signing class, assembled under Serrano, was taken in the draft.
The Pittsburgh Pirates spent their 12th round pick on Hunter Wolfe, who would have three years of eligibility at Tennessee if he turns down the Pirates.
"I think he's got a tough decision on his hands," said David Shelton, Wolfe's coach at Walters State Community College in Morristown, Tenn.
Wolfe batted .393 with eight home runs and a team-leading 19 stolen bases as a redshirt freshman for Walters State in 2017.
"He's really what they look for, tools-wise," Shelton said. "He's a little raw as a player, but he's a shortstop with a plus arm and he runs a 6.5 (-second) 60-yard sprint and can hit with power."
Tennessee had not announced Anderson's hiring by 8 p.m. Wednesday, but he would bring the head coaching experience that Vitello desired for his staff. Anderson, head coach at Oklahoma State from 2004 to 2012, has been an assistant at Houston since 2013.
Vitello is a first-time head coach. He said in his introductory press conference last week that he wanted to find at least one assistant with head coaching experience.
Contact David Cobb at firstname.lastname@example.org.