Former Mount Paran Christian and Boston College standout Jake Palomaki led the way as four more Cobb County players were selected on Day 3 of Major League Baseball’s First-Year Player Draft.
Palomaki was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 18th round, with the 540th overall selection. He was joined Wednesday by former Allatoona star Justin Evans in the 19th round by the Miami Marlins, Walton pitcher Luke Bartnicki in the 29th round by the Arizona Diamondbacks and former McEachern standout Trey Harris in the 32nd round by the Atlanta Braves.
“I was sitting in my living room and got a text about 20 minutes before (being selected),” Palomaki said. “I heard my name called, and it was pretty cool. My family was pretty excited.”
Palomaki finished his career at Boston College by hitting .315 with three home runs, 32 RBIs and 19 stolen bases as a senior. He thinks playing high-caliber competition day after day in the Atlantic Coast Conference will help him transition to the next level.
“The ACC was a huge part of my development,” said Palomaki, who had not yet heard where he would be assigned in the Braves’ farm system. “That and the Cape Cod League. I think I’ll be prepared for pro ball because of that level. I owe a lot to both.”
Evans, a junior at Columbus State and the 567th overall selection, has a lot to offer. He hit .318 with three home runs, 25 RBIs and 23 stolen bases for the Division II team, also throwing 11 2/3 innings of relief and finishing with a 2-0 record, 0.77 ERA, three saves and 14 strikeouts.
“He’s another one of those kids you pull for,” Allatoona coach Keith Hansen said. “When he got to college, he just kind of took off.”
While Evans was listed as a right-handed reliever on the MLB.com draft tracker, Hansen said he would not be surprised to see the Marlins to try him as a middle infielder at first. If that does not work out, Evans can return to the pitching mound.
“His senior year for us, he was hitting the upper 80s,” Hansen said. “When he got to college, he started getting from 92 to 94. This year, I think he hit 95 once or twice.”
Bartnicki, who had been committed to Georgia Tech, seemed to reconfirm that decision once the second day of the draft completed Tuesday night, tweeting “#togetherweswarm.” Likely because of his firm commitment to the Yellow Jackets, Bartnicki fell to the 879th overall pick, 730 spots lower than his initial draft ranking.
Bartnicki finished his senior season at Walton with a 6-1 record, 2.53 ERA and 84 strikeouts in 52 2/3 innings.
Harris, an outfielder taken by his hometown team with the 952nd overall pick, already knows something about SunTrust Park. As a junior last year, he hit the stadium’s first home run in a meaningful game when Missouri played Georgia that April.
Harris finished his senior season with the Tigers by hitting .316 with 11 home runs, 50 RBIs and 12 stolen bases.
Wednesday’s four selections brought Cobb County’s draft class to seven.
On Tuesday, Clemson closer and former Kennesaw Mountain standout Ryley Gilliam was taken in the fifth round by the New York Mets, while a pair of Kennesaw State products -- pitcher A.J. Moore and second baseman Grant Williams -- were taken by the Cincinnati Reds and Boston Red Sox, respectively, in the 10th round.