Photo by Austin Foote

With the coming of the 2015 MLB draft, hundreds of players were given the opportunity to ascend to baseball’s highest level. Among those beginning their professional careers next year are two Yellow Jackets, infielder A.J. Murray and outfielder Daniel Spingola.

Murray, a senior from Westfield, New Jersey, started every game this season and led the team with 14 multi-RBI games. A versatile player, he started at catcher, in the outfield, and as designated hitter at different points throughout the season. He was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 48 round of the 2011 draft, the year he left high school. This year, he was drafted in the 14 round by the Minnesota Twins.

“It was great to get drafted out of high school but I knew then I was going to go to Georgia Tech and play college ball,” Murray said courtesy of Ramblinwreck.com. “I’d say this [year’s selection is] more rewarding just because of the work that went into Georgia Tech and all the great times I’ve had at Tech. I wouldn’t trade that for anything. The coaches and the guys I played with and playing in the ACC got me to this point. I’m very grateful for that opportunity. That’s what made this happen. It made me a better player along the way.”

Spingola, a senior from Roswell, Georgia, highlighted this year with a 12-game hitting streak and a 26-game reached-base streak, both career bests. Each of his 47 starts this season were in the outfield. Last season, he was drafted by the Cubs in the 24th round but ultimately decided to remain at Tech. This year, he was once again drafted by Chicago, this time in the 31st round.

“There was definitely a lot of stuff going on last year that made decisions a lot more stressful. I had a choice,” Spingola said, courtesy of Ramblinwreck.com. “This year there was no hesitation on my part. I always had it in my mind that I was going to hopefully play college ball for my career and go four years like, I guess, a normal student would. Obviously the year didn’t end up as I had hoped but I definitely think it was a relief to know that I did all I could at Georgia Tech and that I have an opportunity to continue playing baseball, which is what I want to do.”

Although only two of Tech’s current players were drafted, there were also five signees drafted from Tech’s eleventh ranked recruiting class. Highlighting the group is catcher Tyler Stephenson, who was the 11 overall pick this year by the Cincinnati Reds. Also selected were pitcher Jonathan Hughes by the Baltimore Orioles in the second round, catcher Joey Bart by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 27 round, shortstop Carter Hall , son of Tech Head Coach Danny Hall, by the Atlanta Braves in the 34 round, and pitcher Tristin English by the Cleveland Indians in the 39.

Stephenson and Hughes have both elected to go pro, while Bart, Hall, and English will be honoring their commitment to Tech. This is the second time in three years that Tech had a signee drafted before the second round. In 2013, the Baltimore Orioles drafted outfielder Josh Hart out of Parkview High School with the 37 overall pick.