Reds draft Campbell’s Kahaloa in Round 5

Campbell's Ian Kahaloa was the first player from Hawaii taken in the 2015 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. Darryl Oumi/ Special to the Star-Advertiser
Campbell’s Ian Kahaloa was the first player from Hawaii taken in the 2015 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. Darryl Oumi/ Special to the Star-Advertiser

Recent Campbell graduate Ian Kahaloa was selected in the fifth round (No. 145 overall) by the Cincinnati Reds in the 2015 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on Tuesday.

Kahaloa watched the draft at home with most of his baseball teammates. He received a text from his advisor where he would go roughly four picks before he was taken, but waited to say anything until his name was read aloud.

“I just had the baseball boys (over). They were waiting,” Kahaloa said. “It was a long wait, but it was worth it.”

Kahaloa said he had “no clue” where he would go after the third round where he originally thought he would get picked.

He committed to Hawaii last year but said, “there’s a good chance” he would sign.

Slot value for the No. 145 overall pick is listed at $369,400. Kean Wong, who was drafted out of Waiakea No. 128 overall in 2013, received a $391,000 signing bonus. Mid-Pacific’s Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who was taken two picks later that year, got $202,000 according to numbers from Baseball America.

The 6-foot-1 right-hander led Campbell to its first state title since 1978 exactly one month ago. He participated in a pre-draft workout in California, was named the Honolulu Star-Advertiser state player of the year, graduated from high school and was inducted into the Hall of Honor before becoming an official MLB draft pick on Tuesday.

“It’s been a hectic month, but I’m not tired of it,” Kahaloa said.

Kahaloa went 5-0 with a 0.16 ERA and struck out 72 with only four walks in 44 innings this season amid heavy scrutiny from scouts for all 30 Major League teams.

He hit .520 with three triples and 15 RBIs as a hitter but is the top draft pick from Hawaii this year because of his electric right arm.

In a state semifinal win over Kamehameha, Kahaloa threw 138 pitches in a 10-inning masterpiece, striking out 15 in a 2-1 victory.

The only pitchers from Hawaii drafted straight out of high school higher are Waiakea’s Kodi Medeiros (No. 12, 2014), Waipahu’s Jerome Williams (No. 39, 1999), Leilehua’s Tony Ferreira (No. 49, 1981), Saint Louis’ Brandon League (No. 59, 2001), Kaiser’s Sid Fernandez (No. 73, 1981) and Waiakea’s Onan Masaoka (No. 79, 1995).

Kahaloa is the first Hawaii-born player drafted by the Reds since Punahou graduate Michael Suiter in 2011, who elected to go to Kansas instead.

He’s the fifth Campbell alum selected in the draft, joining Chad Bailey (2002), Charles Kaalekahi (2010), Robert Kahana (2011, ’14) and Po’okela Kaalekahi (2011).

Kahaloa, who has signed with Hawaii, is expected to sign with the Reds. The draft value for the No. 145 overall pick is listed at $369,400, but it does not mean that is the signing bonus he will necessarily receive.

>> Kentucky outfielder Ka’ai Tom, a 2012 Saint Louis alumnus, was drafted nine picks later by the Cleveland Indians (No. 154 overall).

Tom hit .352 in two full seasons with the Wildcats with 29 doubles, eight homers and 92 RBIs. He was named first-team All-SEC as a sophomore.

The slot value for that pick is listed at $338,700. Tom could also potentially play second base for the Indians.

He’s the third player with Hawaii ties drafted by the Indians in the last two years. Hilo’s Jodd Carter signed with Cleveland as a 24th-round pick last year while Punahou’s K.J. Harrison, a 25th round selection, decided to go to college at Oregon State, where he was named a freshman All-American this month.


  1. PinkSushi June 9, 2015 3:36 pm

    Take the money and run, Ian Kahaloa. You are doing the right thing. I wish you the best, see you in the majors.

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