Four Mountaineers selected in baseball draft
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
Appalachian State's baseball team reached the NCAA regionals on the strength of its pitching. Major League Baseball seems to agree.
Three Appalachian State pitchers, and a fourth Mountaineer, were selected in the 2012 Major League draft Tuesday and Wednesday. Major League teams picked all Nate Hyatt, Seth Grant, Ryan Arrowood and Tyler Tewell.
Hyatt, the Mountaineers' closer, was first when was picked by the Atlanta Braves in the 13th round. Hyatt became the highest draft pick out of Appalachian State since three Mountaineers — David Rubinstein, Jason Rook and Garrett Sherrill — were picked in the 11th and 12th rounds in 2008.
The Braves took Tewell one round later. Tewell played right field for the Mountaineers, but he can also catch.
Hyatt and Tewell are both juniors, and have the choice of signing a pro contract, or returning to Appalachian State for their senior seasons. Arrowood and Grant are both seniors.
The Miami Marlins took Grant in the 26th round. Arrowood was taken in the 28th round by the Colorado Rockies.
“We felt like we were going to have a good number of guys be drafted,” Appalachian State coach Chris Pollard said. “I'm very excitred for Hyatt and Tewell to be back-to-back picks of the Braves. They were roommates at Appalachian State and now they have a chance to be teammates in the Braves organization.”
Arrowood turned in two of the top pitching performances of the 2012 season for the Mountaineers. His first was a 1-0 victory over No. 7 LSU when he pitched seven innings. He struck out 10, walked just one, and allowed just two hits.
Hyatt picked up the save by pitching the final two innings. He gave up one hit and struck out three.
Arrowood's second gem was Saturday at the Charlottesville Regional when he took a no-hitter into the seventh inning of the Mountaineers' 5-4 victory over Oklahoma. He struck out nine and walked three and allowed one run in 7 2/3 innings.
Hyatt, who hit 96 miles per hour with his fastball in Charlottesville, set a school record with 16 saves. That led the SoCon and was sixth nationally. Hyatt was successful on 16 of his 17 save attempts.
Tewell finished third in the Southern Conference in hitting with a .357 average. He collected 79 hits, 17 doubles and four triples.
Tewell also hit six home runs and drove in 45 runs. He played right field, but is expected to catch for the Braves.
Grant finished with a 7-3 record this season. That included a 6-5 victory over Virginia in the Charlottesville (Va.) Regional Sunday. A fifth-year senior, Grant finished the season with a 3.49 ERA with 69 strikeouts and just 34 walks.
Pollard felt that it was no fluke that Appalachian State beat Virginia and Oklahoma because of Grant and Arrowood.
“Those two guys were horse for us this year,” Pollard said. “They took the ball every Friday and Saturday for us and kept us in ballgames and gave us a chance to win every time they took the mound. They're leaders and their good character guys in our program who are deserving to play on the next level.”
Pollard also felt that having players be drafted can help the Mountaineers recruit top players for the future. Winning the regular-season Southern Conference championship, and reaching an NCAA regional, also bodes well when it comes to recruiting.
It never hurts to tell recruits that 15 Mountaineers have been drafted since 2008.
“We want the top players to know that if you come to Appalachian State, you have an opportunity to get a great degree and to compete for a championship,” Pollard said. I also understand that it is every player's dream to play on the professional level. We want them to understand that they can do that at Appalachian.”
OTHER SOCON PLAYERS SELECTED
Georgia Southern had the first player selected in the draft when the Milwaukee Brewers took Victor Roache with the 28th overall selection in the first round.
The Chicago White Sox took pitcher Chris Beck in the second round. He was the 76th overall pick. The Toronto Blue Jays took Georgia Southern's Eric Phillips, a third baseman in the sixth round, and the Minnesota Twins took pitcher Jarrett Leverett in the 15th round.
Samford had five players selected in the draft, staring with outfielder Brandon Miller, who went to the Washington Nationals in the fourth round. The Baltimore Orioles took Bulldogs pitcher Lex Rudledge in the sixth round. The Cleveland Indians took Josh in the 10th round.
Samford pitcher Tyler Vanderhelden was picked by the New York Mets in the 19th round, Josh Burns was taken by the Texas Rangers in the 28th round and the Yankees picked took Samford first baseman Saxton Butler in the 33rd round.
Bulldogs right-handed pitcher Charles Basford went to the Yankees in the 37th round.
College of Charleston had three players picked by the eighth round. Southern Conference Player of the Year Marty Gantt was picked in the seventh round by Tampa Bay. Cougars pitcher Christian Powell went to the Minnesota Twins in the eighth round, and pitcher David Peterson, also was picked in the eighth round, but by the Braves.
The Braves took their third SoCon player when they grabbed Wofford pitcher Alexander Wilson in the 15th round. Atlanta made it four SoCon players by taking Western Carolina second baseman Ross Heffley in the 18th round.
The Oakland A's took UNC Greensboro pitcher Tyler Hollstegge in the 21st round and the Cleveland Indians took Elon pitcher James Stokes in the 22nd round.
The St. Louis Cardinals selected Elon catcher Alexander Swim in the 36th round.
The Charlottesville Regional saw plenty of players, besides the four from Appalachian State, taken in the draft.
Oklahoma closer Steven Okert was picked by San Francisco in the fourth round. Damien Magnifico, who was knocked out of the box by the Mountaineers in Oklahoma's 14-6 victory in the regional, was picked in the fourth round.
Oklahoma pitcher Jordan John, who pitched against Arrowood in ASU's win Saturday, was picked by the Detroit Tigers in the sixth round. Andrew Harrison was picked in the 23rd round by Detroit Tigers. Oklahoma shortstop Caleb Bushyhead, the player who broke up Arrowood's no-hit bid with a single, was taken in the 29th round by the Los Angeles Angles.
Virginia starter Branden Kline went to the Baltimore Orioles in the second round, Cavaliers shortstop Chris Taylor went to the Seattle Mariners in the fifth round and third baseman Stephen Bruno went to the Chicago Cubs in the seventh round. Virginia pitcher Shane Halley went to Kansas City in the 20th round.
No Watauga baseball players were taken in the draft, but a handful of former opponents were.
Former South Caldwell pitcher Cody Penny was taken by the Cleveland Indians in the 16th round. Penny pitched at North Carolina the past three years. North Davidson shortstop Landon Lassiter, who played against Watauga in games spanning three years, was picked by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 16th round.
The Texas Rangers took Ardrey Kell left-handed pitcher Brad Stone in the 35th round. Watauga has also faced Ardrey Kell in recent years.