Three right-handed pitchers from McDonald’s final Wheeler team — Evan Mitchell, Sam Bragg and Sam Agnew-Wieland — were all drafted as Major League Baseball’s First-Year Player Draft concluded Saturday.
“I am extremely proud of those guys,” said McDonald, who spent the spring as an assistant at the Lovett School following two years in a similar role at Mount Paran Christian. “I haven’t talked with them yet, but I’m sure they are excited. They always wanted to play professional baseball.”
Mitchell, who is playing in this weekend’s NCAA Super Regional with Mississippi State, was the first of the Wheeler trio selected Saturday, with the junior drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 13th round with the 405th overall pick.
“Evan was such a gifted athlete,” McDonald said. “He could play all nine positions if he had to. He just has a desire to improve and improve his craft.”
Bragg, who recently completed his second season at Georgia Perimeter and was a draft-eligible junior college player, went five rounds later to the Oakland Athletics with the 551st overall selection. while Agnew-Wieland, an Appalachian State junior, was taken by the New York Yankees with the 734th overall selection in the 24th round.
Of the 11 players with Cobb County ties that were selected in the three-day draft, only two — former Sprayberry shortstop Jared Breen and Walton outfielder Stephen Wrenn — were primarily position players.
Wrenn, who pitched on occasion for the Raiders, was also the only Cobb County high school player drafted, by the Atlanta Braves in the 28th round as the 853rd overall pick. While he appreciated being drafted, Wrenn said his plans to play baseball in college have not been swayed.
“I’ll be going to Georgia,” he said. “I’m flattered the Braves drafted me. It was a classy move by their organization. It was a very nice gesture.”
It also showed how much the Atlanta organization may value him in the future, particularly after Wrenn sent an email to all the teams saying he would be going to Georgia regardless of which team, and which round, he may have been selected.
Breen, who recently completed his college career at Belmont, was taken in the 24th round by the Baltimore Orioles with the 729th overall pick.
Like Wheeler, Kennesaw State also had three right-handed pitchers taken in consecutive rounds Saturday. Kevin McCoy was taken in the 24th round by the Seattle Mariners, Alan Busenitz went one round later to the Tampa Bay Rays and Travis Dean went to the Texas Rangers in the 26th round.
McCoy and Dean just finished their junior seasons and could test the draft waters again in 2014. Busenitz was a senior.
With Dean’s selection, Kennesaw State had four of its pitchers drafted this year. Stephen Janas, the Owls’ junior ace and a former Lassiter High School standout, was taken by the Braves in the sixth round Friday.
Janas had already determined that he would go pro, saying he and the Braves were near a contract agreement.
The four draftees matched the second-largest group in Kennesaw State history, equaling 1998 and 2012. Six Owls were selected in 2009.
The only left-handed pitcher with Cobb County ties selected Saturday was Auburn’s Will Kendall. The former Pope High School standout was the last of the area players drafted, as he went to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 30th round.
Southern Poly pitcher Nick Blount joined Janas as a Friday draftee, going in the ninth round to the Chicago White Sox.