The stellar individual play that fueled Georgia Tech’s 43-win season has been recognized by the major leagues.
Four Yellow Jackets players were selected in the first 10 rounds of the draft – first baseman Tristin English to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the third round, catcher Kyle McCann to the Oakland Athletics, pitcher Connor Thomas to the St. Louis Cardinals in the fifth and pitcher Xzavion Curry to the Cleveland Indians in the seventh.
All were selected Tuesday on the second day of the draft. It’s the first time since 2013 that coach Danny Hall’s team has had four players selected in the first 10 rounds. Given their early selections in the draft and the likely bonus money they’ll be offered, it’s almost a certainty that all have played their final games for the Jackets. The approximate signing bonus value for each slot is $627,900 (English), $418,200 (McCann), $340,000 (Thomas) and $197,300 (Curry), according to the Major League Baseball website.
English earned first-team All-ACC status for the third time, becoming one of only three players in school history to achieve that distinction (Jason Varitek and Eric Patterson were the others). English finished the season with a .346 batting average, .427 on-base percentage, 18 home runs and 71 RBIs. His .701 slugging percentage leads the ACC. He also had six saves and is one of five finalists for the John Olerud Award, given to the nation’s top two-way player. (English was drafted by the Diamondbacks as a first baseman.)
McCann exploded as a junior after waiting his turn to play catcher for the Jackets following Joey Bart, last year’s No. 2 overall pick. McCann’s 23 home runs (up from 15 last season) are third most in school history in a season. His slugging percentage rose from .600 last season to .679 this season, third in the ACC.
Thomas was among the top pitchers in the ACC for the past two seasons, this year throwing an ACC-leading 113 innings while walking only 19 and striking out 103. His strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.42) is second in the ACC. He was named first-team All-ACC for the second year in a row.
Curry, Tech’s Friday night starter for the past three seasons, threw 57-1/3 innings and had a 4.08 ERA. He had a 66/16 strikeout/walk ratio and was missed when he was unable to pitch after late April because of shoulder inflammation.
The draft continued through 10 rounds Tuesday and will conclude Wednesday with rounds 11-40. Several other Tech players could be drafted, including pitchers Jonathan Hughes and Amos Willingham and field players Chase Murray, Luke Waddell, Jackson Webb and Austin and Nick Wilhite.
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