Five players and four signees of the UT baseball team were recently selected in the 2010 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
The three-day, 50-round draft took place from June 7 to June 9, and recently retained head coach Todd Raleigh, finishing his third season as the team’s skipper, said he believes the number of Volunteers drafted in recent years shows the progress the program is making.
“To have 10 players and counting drafted over the past two years shows the kind of program that we are working to build here at Tennessee,” Raleigh said. “Obviously we have a number of current players and signees that have some decisions about their futures to make, but that is a good problem for us to have, because it means we are bringing in and developing the kind of talent we need to in order to succeed.”
Early on day two of the draft, catcher Blake Forsythe was selected by the New York Mets in the third round (89th overall). The Memphis native hit .300 with 30 home runs and 107 RBIs during his three seasons at Tennessee. He was a member of the prestigious USA Baseball National Team in summer 2009, where he impressed draft scouts with his hitting ability and throwing arm.
“Getting drafted was definitely an honor, and it was a dream come true,” Forsythe said. “That’s what I’ve been playing for my whole life. Always as a kid you dream about being a professional baseball player, and I’ve finally got that chance, and I heard my name called, and I was just very excited. It was a great experience.”
A round later, pitcher Bryan Morgado was selected 141st overall by the Philadelphia Phillies. The southpaw ace of the Volunteer pitching staff had a disappointing season, finishing with a 2-7 record and a 7.90 ERA.
He entered the season as the highest-drafted collegiate player to return to school after being a third-round draft pick by the Chicago White Sox in the 2009 draft.
In the sixth round, first baseman Cody Hawn was taken by the Milwaukee Brewers with the 189th overall pick. It was the second time the Brewers had selected Hawn, as they took him in the 23rd round following his senior season at South Doyle High School. The Knoxville native hit .327 with 14 home runs and a team-leading 61 RBIs this past season. Hawn has signed a contract with the Brewers and was sent to the Pioneer League, an advanced rookie league.
Outfielder P.J. Polk was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 13th round (403rd). The senior from Murfreesboro put together one of the top statistical seasons in the SEC this past year, hitting a team-high .352 with 12 home runs, 51 RBIs and 25 stolen bases. He signed with the Tigers and was sent to the short-season Class A New York-Penn League.
In the 16th round, pitcher Stephen McCray was selected by the Chicago White Sox with the 488th overall pick. McCray started a team-high 14 games this past season, posted an ERA of 3.04 and tied for the team high in wins with six.
The four Tennessee signees were all drafted within the first 12 rounds.
Shortstop Chris Hawkins was selected in the third round (93rd overall) by the Toronto Blue Jays. Outfielder Andrew Toles was taken 137th overall in the fourth round by the Florida Marlins. Pitcher Taylor Morton was selected by the New York Yankees in the ninth round (295th overall). Third baseman Matt Kirkland was picked in the 12th round (382nd overall) by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Five Vols, four signees taken in MLB Draft
Published: Fri Jun 25, 2010