Last year we were spoiled.
North Forsyth’s Dakota Chalmers became the second-highest player to be selected in the Major League Baseball draft when the Oakland Athletics selected him 97th overall (Round 3)—later than he was originally slotted. West Forsyth’s Chris Cullen got a call from the Athletics as well, 35 rounds later, but elected to stick to his plan of playing collegiately with South Carolina.
And of course there was plenty of lead-up chatter about Seth Beer, Lambert’s superstar outfielder and batting machine, and whether or not he’d even enter the draft, or elect to enroll early at Clemson (considering he recently became the first freshman to win the ACC Player of the Year, it’s unlikely he regrets that decision).
Last season was the only year beside 2009, when Forsyth County saw five players selected, when multiple names were called on draft day. Out of the 15 players ever drafted out of Forsyth County, 2009 and 2015 accounted for seven of them.
As well, Forsyth County has had at least one player selected in each year since 2012, when South Forsyth outfielder Brian Adams was selected in the eighth round
With the 2016 MLB First Year Player draft set to begin Thursday it appears that modest but encouraging streak might come to a halt, but don’t be so sure.
Even though coaches at each varsity program told the FCN that they are not expecting a selection from their respective clubs, that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. In 2014 Forsyth Central catcher Michael Branigan got a surprise call from the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 22nd round—a very respectable round for a surprise phone call—thanks to a scout who caught him late in his career while watching the Bulldogs at Sprayberry High School.
To say that Forsyth doesn’t have talent in the county this year would be a naïve assumption based on information above. Lambert will send catcher Kyle McCann to Georgia Tech, North’s Region 6 Player of the Year, Cory Campbell, is headed to Air Force and pitcher Tyler Koch has Georgia State on his mind. Lambert also has Division I pitching talent in Cole Varner (undecided) and Mercer commit Zach Graveno. Mason McWhorter, one of the county’s best bats, has a bright future with a rising program at Georgia Southern. Although he’s not draft eligible, Forsyth Central has pitcher Ethan Hankins committed to Vanderbilt—the house that David Price built, and one of the most prestigious baseball programs in the country. South Forsyth’s Alex Andronica is another D-I departing senior, headed for Charleston Southern.
Even if Forsyth County doesn’t get a ring from a professional baseball club this weekend, you can argue that with two selections last season the law of averages mandated an empty 2016, but the talent pool in this county is only getting stronger.
Make sure to keep your eyes peeled anyway. You never know what can happen.