Eight Jackets selected in MLB draft

Photo by Joe Johnson Student Publications. Kevin Parada stands with his first base coach during Tech’s March 2022 win over Georgia. He was the first of eight Jackets selected in this year’s MLB draft.

The Jackets are coming off a historic season led by many players with the ability to make big names for themselves at the next level. The 2022 MLB draft reflected this, with eight players being drafted. This was tied for the fifth most students drafted by any school in the nation, and the most of any ACC school. This marked the 42nd straight year where Tech had a player drafted and 22nd consecutive year with multiple draftees. The Jackets had two players drafted on the first day of the draft, four on the second day and an additional two on the third day. 

Catcher Kevin Parada entered the draft as one of the top prospects. With the 11th overall pick in the draft, the New York Mets selected Parada. He will be adding a great deal to the Mets. In his two years, Parada has been one of the top players in the nation. Parada appeared in 112 games, including 111 starts and all 60 of Tech’s games this past season. This past year, he was the recipient of the Buster Posey Award, which is given to the nation’s best catcher. He displayed strong offensive abilities, setting multiple hitting records. On numerous occasions, he has shown his versatile skills that will let him make his mark in the big leagues, as either a catcher or even a designated hitter. 

Shortstop Chandler Simpson was another critical player to the Jackets offense this past season. The Tampa Bay Rays selected Simpson with the 70th overall pick. Simpson led the nation with a .433 batting average, as well as being third in the nation in runs per game at 1.36. Because of Simpson’s speed, he was known to be able to convert any hit into multiple bases, as well as being a threat to steal bases at any given time. Simpson looks to build off a strong season with the Jackets by having a strong showing in the MLB. 

Outfielder Tres Gonzalez, a captain this past season, was the first of four drafted on the second day.  The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted Gonzalez with the 140th overall pick in the draft. He was always a threat on the offensive side, with a .339 batting average this past season and had a knack for getting on base with a career on base percentage of .442. Gonzalez’s high baseball IQ will set him up for success at the next level. 

Pitcher Zach Maxwell was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds with the 183rd pick in the draft. Maxwell has shined throughout his Tech career and especially shined for them throughout crucial points late this past season. In games where the stakes were the highest, Maxwell played some of his best baseball. In an elimination game against the top overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, the Tennessee Volunteers, Maxwell was responsible for 12 strikeouts and only gave up two unearned runs through six innings pitched. Maxwell was known for high-velocity fastballs of speeds in the upper 90s and even reached triple digits at times. His fastballs will make him an impactful player at the professional level. 

Pitcher Chance Huff was another captain from this past season taken on the second day. The Washington Nationals drafted Huff with the 231st overall pick. Huff came up big in some of the Jackets’ most important games. Against in-state rival Georgia, Huff only gave up one run in seven innings. In another elimination game against Alabama State, Huff was one of the catalysts to Tech’s victory as he struck out eight while only giving up three runs through seven innings. His ability to show up big in the biggest moments will prove to be a critical factor as he progresses throughout his career. 

First baseman Andrew Jenkins was another one of the catalysts behind the Jackets’ powerhouse offense. The Detroit Tigers used their 267th pick to draft Jenkins, one of the nation’s best first basemen. His 17 home runs this season got him second-team All-American and first-team All-ACC honors. He has a unique ability to get on base at a high rate, notching a career on base percentage of .417. Jenkins will look to convert his top-tier skill at his position to a successful MLB career. 

Pitcher Marquis Grissom Jr. became one of two Jackets selected on day three of the draft. With the 381st overall pick, he joined Huff with the Nationals. In the late stages of this past season, he had some big games, including one in the ACC tournament. Against Louisville, Grissom had seven strikeouts through 6.2 innings as he led Tech to a 9–4 victory. Grissom hopes to carry this momentum with him towards an illustrious professional career. 

Infielder Tim Borden II was one of the team’s strongest offensive stars this past season. This led to the Houston Astros selecting Borden with the 493rd pick in the draft. His 20 home runs were the second most home runs for the Jackets. This performance led to his second-team All-ACC selection. He became known for being able to rise to any occasion and not allow any moment to be too big. His offensive strengths and timely ability to make important plays will allow him to become a key contributor at the next level.    

Tech is sending a historic group to join the ranks of the major leagues. After each had prolific careers during their Jacket tenures, they will look to only grow from there and make names for themselves at the next level.