Tech continued its trend of sending players to the professional baseball as seven Jackets were drafted in this year’s MLB Draft. The first Jacket off the board was outfielder Daniel Palka, who led Tech last season with 17 home runs and 66 RBIs. Palka was taken in the third round with the 88 overall pick by the Arizona.
Catcher Zane Evans was the next Jacket taken. The Kansas City Royals drafted Evans in the fourth round, 114 overall. Evans hit .361 for the Jackets last season with 14 home runs and was tied for the team lead in RBIs with 66.
The Detroit Tigers took Tech’s Friday starter Buck Farmer in the fifth round. Farmer went 9-5 and had 2.78 ERA for the Jackets last season. This is the third time Farmer has been drafted. The Atlanta Braves drafted Farmer in the 45 round in 2009, and the Brewers drafted him last season in the 15 round.
One of the most interesting story lines of the draft came when the Atlanta Braves drafted Tech outfielder Kyle Wren with 253 overall pick in the eighth round. Wren, as a speedy outfielder that can hit for average and also as a threat to steal, is a typical leadoff hitter, so it made sense that an MLB would want a player like Wren in their farm system.
What makes this story different than most is that Wren’s dad happens to be the General Manager for the Braves, Frank Wren. With the very next pick, the Yankees drafted Tech outfielder Brandon Thomas. Thomas hit .321 last season with only one home run for the Jackets. Unfortunately for Thomas, he was drafted much later in the draft than he was in last year’s. In 2012, the Pittsburgh Pirates with 136 overall pick took Thomas in the fourth round.
The last two Jackets drafted were both taken by the Phillies. Third baseman Sam Dove was taken in the 14 round, and pitcher Matthew Grimes was taken in the 31 round.
Losing all three starting outfielders, who hit one, two and three in the order last season, will most likely hurt Tech’s production next season, but losing current players isn’t the only issue for Tech. Outfielders Josh Hart and Terry McClure were both highly recruited for Tech and were taken in the MLB draft, and will sign to play professionally.
The Baltimore Orioles drafted Hart, out of Parkview High School, in the second round. McClure, also an Atlanta native, was drafted in the eighth round by the Colorado Rockies. Tech essentially lost five talented outfielders to the draft and will be looking to current players to step up and fill their shoes.