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Buford's Burnette signs with Pirates

Photo by Brandon Brigman

Photo by Brandon Brigman

With a tough decision at hand, Jake Burnette had a good source for advice within his own family.

The recent Buford graduate talked plenty the past few months with his older brother Chase, who played baseball at Georgia Tech and is in the Cleveland Indians’ minor-league system. He had the unique perspective to see both sides of his younger brother’s choices.

Jake Burnette had signed a letter of intent with Tech’s baseball program, but also was a seventh-round selection of the Pittsburgh Pirates in this year’s draft.

“There were pros and cons to both (going to Tech and signing with Pittsburgh),” the younger Burnette said. “(Chase) told me to do what’s best for me and not to try to please anyone else.”

Burnette made his decision official Monday night, signing with the Pirates during a trip to Pittsburgh. The 6-foot-4, right-handed pitcher will now fly to Bradenton, Fla., where he will spend the next month or so with the Gulf Coast League Pirates. After a brief trip home, he then expects to join the club’s fall instructional league team.

After the past few weeks away from baseball, Burnette said he’s ready to play.

“It was a very hard process because I was excited about Tech. I love Tech,” Burnette said. “My brother went there and I’ve followed them. But this was a great opportunity. It’s always been my dream to play professional baseball.”

As a senior this past spring, Burnette helped Buford to the Class AA state championship. He went 8-0 with a 1.72 ERA and had 80 strikeouts in 57 innings.

Of Gwinnett’s highest picks in this year’s MLB Draft, only compensatory first-round pick Grayson Garvin (Tampa Bay Rays) has yet to sign a pro contract.