Georgia Tech’s Chandler Simpson picked 70th by Rays

Georgia Tech second baseman Chandler Simpson dives into third base of the Yellow Jackets' NCAA regional game against Campbell June 5, 2022 in Knoxville, Tenn. (Gage Jenkins/Georgia Tech Athletics)

Combined ShapeCaption
Georgia Tech second baseman Chandler Simpson dives into third base of the Yellow Jackets' NCAA regional game against Campbell June 5, 2022 in Knoxville, Tenn. (Gage Jenkins/Georgia Tech Athletics)

Ultra-fast and a skilled contact hitter, Georgia Tech middle infielder Chandler Simpson was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays with the 70th overall pick of the Major League Baseball draft early Monday. The pick was made in the second competitive balance round after the second round of the draft.

Simpson may have been the fastest player in the draft – Baseball America rated his speed as an 80, the highest grade possible – and he showed his hitting prowess by leading Division I in batting average with .433 and by being the toughest hitter in the ACC to strike out (12.7 at-bats per strikeout). He also stole 27 bases (third in the ACC) and memorably scored after tagging up from second base on a flyout against Pittsburgh.

Simpson became the first Tech player to hit .400 since Mark Teixeira in 2000 and narrowly missed tying the school single-season batting-average record (minimum 200 at-bats) set by Jay Payton (.434 in 1994).

It was prolific progress after transferring from Alabama-Birmingham, where he hit .288 while stealing 24 bases. Simpson, from St. Pius, earned second-team All-American and first-team All-ACC honors for his play. Picked as a shortstop (he also played second base for the Jackets), he was the eighth college shortstop selected in the draft.

He was rated the No. 88 prospect by Baseball America. The slot value for signing bonus for the No. 70 pick is $953,300.

Simpson was preceded in the draft by Tech catcher Kevin Parada, who went 11th to the New York Mets. The pair of selections extends Tech’s streak of having multiple players drafted in a single draft to 22 years.

The draft will continue Monday with rounds 3-10 and concludes Tuesday with rounds 11-20. Several more Tech players, including pitchers Zach Maxwell, Marquis Grissom and Chance Huff, infielders Tim Borden, Andrew Jenkins and Drew Compton and outfielders Tres Gonzalez, Colin Hall and Stephen Reid, could be selected.