After early drought, final day of MLB Draft a busy one for Gwinnett players

Norcross grad Trevor Craport makes contract with a pitch this season for Georgia Tech. (Photo: Danny Karnik/GT Athletics.)

While Gwinnett was shut out during the first two days of the 2017 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, the final day of selections made up for it.

With 11 different players with county ties being selected before the draft ended early Wednesday evening, this year’s draft class actually exceeded last year’s in sheer numbers despite the slow start during the first 10 rounds.

And the activity got started early in Wednesday’s selection, with Greater Atlanta Christian grad and Kentucky pitcher Justin Lewis and Norcross grad and Georgia Tech third baseman Trevor Craport both being selected in the 11th round, with Lewis going to the Tampa Bay Rays and Craport being selected by the Baltimore Orioles.

The call from the Orioles was a bit of a surprise for Craport, and not just because he had expected to be selected sometime during Tuesday’s earlier rounds.

“The whole draft thing is very new to me, so I didn’t really know what to expect,” said the 5-foot-11, 197-pound junior, who hit .338 with five home runs, 30 RBIs, a team-best eight stolen bases and a .901 OPS for the Yellow Jackets this spring. “A couple of teams called me (Tuesday) to say they were interested, but the Orioles weren’t one of them. So when someone (from the Baltimore organization) called me (Wednesday), it was kind of a shock.”

Like Craport, Kennesaw State infielder Austin Upshaw wasn’t really sure what to expect from the draft process.

So the Buford grad’s selection by the defending world champion Chicago Cubs in the 13th round was a very pleasant surprise.

While a few details must still be worked out between Upshaw’s camp and the Cubs organization in terms of his first contract and signing bonus, he is very much looking forward to getting his pro career started.

“That (Cubs’) organization is full of winners,” said Upshaw, who hit .327 with eight homers, 39 RBIs, an .894 OPS and team-high 112 total bases and 42 runs scored for the Owls in 2017. “I’m ready to get my pro career started. Really, all you can ask for is a chance to play pro baseball. … It’s all I ever wanted as a kid.

“When you’re 5 years old, you tell people you want to be a pro ball player, and they say, ‘Well, you should pick something more realistic.’ I always said it was realistic, and now it’s come to fruition. I’m ready for it. I’m so happy.”

Like Upshaw, Craport is awaiting word of what Baltimore’s specific offer of a minor-league deal and signing bonus will be.

While he still has the option to return to Tech for his senior season, he also said the lure of a pro career, as well a satisfactory offer from the Orioles — two opportunities he never imagined he’d have coming out of Norcross — may be just too tempting to ignore.

“I’m probably going to hear from the Orioles’ (scouting staff) sometime in the next few hours with details,” Craport said Wednesday afternoon. “What they’re offering may be too good to pass up. It’s very exciting. It’s something you dream about as a kid. To have a chance to actually do it it something I never thought I ‘d have, especially (being selected) this high.”

While it appears Tech will lose one key Gwinnett grad from its roster, it appears it will keep all six county players from its 2016-17 signing class.

Three of those recent Gwinnett grads — Grayson’s Oscar Serratos, Wesleyan’s Colin Hall and Norcross’ Baron Radcliff — were taken during the final day of selections, but all three seem very likely to report with the Jackets’ freshmen sometime this summer.

After hearing from representatives from the Cleveland organization during Monday’s early rounds of the draft, the Indians selected Serratos in the 14th round Wednesday, though he said Tuesday that barring something unforeseen, he was likely to opt to play in college.

With Hall being the son of Jackets coach Danny Hall and the younger brother of freshman infielder Carter Hall, it seems very unlikely he will forgo a college career despite being selected in the 39th round by the Colorado Rockies.

Meanwhile, Radcliff had spoken with representatives from the hometown Atlanta Braves earlier this week about being taken in the early rounds.

But after hearing the team’s signing bonus offer, the 6-foot-3, 212-pound outfielder said he has decided to come to Atlanta, only with Tech.

The Braves selected him anyway in the 40th and final round, and may still be interested in him when he becomes eligible for the draft again in three years.

“It’s pretty cool,” Radcliff, who hit .363 with eight homers, 25 RBIs, 34 runs scored and 10 stolen bases for the Blue Devils this spring, said about being selected by the Braves. “They called earlier and said they were thinking about taking me in the third or fourth round, but by that time, I decided (the signing bonus) wasn’t as much as I was looking for. They knew I was going to go to school.

“I just got off the phone with my advisor and he was telling me they told him they were going to be watching me the next few years. So, that’s pretty cool.”

Other players with Gwinnett ties taken during Wednesday’s rounds included former North Gwinnett left-handed pitcher Tucker Baca (12th round, Baltimore), Providence Christian grad and current Alabama-Birmingham right-hander Garrett Whitlock (18th round, New York Yankees), Grayson grad and Georgia College shortstop Brandon Benson (20th round, St. Louis), Collins Hill grad and Mercer pitcher Ryan Askew (29th round, Tampa Bay) and Collins Hill outfielder Ian Jenkins (40th round, Cincinnati).

GWINNETT’S MLB FIRST-YEAR PLAYER DRAFT HISTORY

2017

Name School Round Organization

Justin Lewis GAC (Kentucky) 11 Tampa Bay Rays

Trevor Craport Norcross (Georgia Tech) 11 Baltimore Orioles

Tucker Baca North Gwinnett (St. Katherine) 12 Baltimore Orioles

Austin Upshaw Buford (Kennesaw St.) 13 Chicago Cubs

Oscar Serratos Grayson 14 Cleveland Indians

Garrett Whitlock Providence (UAB) 18 New York Yankees

Brandon Benson Grayson (GCSU) 20 St. Louis Cardinals

Ryan Askew Collins Hill (Mercer) 29 Tampa Bay Rays

Colin Hall Wesleyan 39 Colorado Rockies

Ian Jenkins Collins Hill 40 Cincinnati Reds

Baron Radcliff Norcross 40 Atlanta Braves

2016

Name School Round Organization

Kyle Lewis Shiloh (Mercer) 1 Seattle Mariners

Brandon Marsh Buford 2 Los Angeles Angels

Josh Merrigan Ga. Gwinnett College 10 Texas Rangers

Justin Glover Buford 26 Tampa Bay Rays

Cam Shepherd Peachtree Ridge 29 Boston Red Sox

Will Ethridge Parkview 35 Seattle Mariners

Will Solomon Ga. Gwinnett College 38 San Diego Padres

2015

Name School Round Organization

Christin Stewart Providence (Tennessee) 1 Detroit Tigers

Nick Neidert Peachtree Ridge 2 Seattle Mariners

Jahmai Jones Wesleyan 2 Los Angeles Angels

Zack Erwin Duluth (Clemson) 4 Chicago White Sox

Mac Marshall Parkview (Chipola CC) 4 San Francisco Giants

Chad Smith South 5 Texas Rangers

Curtis Terry Archer 13 Texas Rangers

Cedric Mullins Brookwood (Campbell) 13 Baltimore Orioles

Jordan Hillyer Hebron (Kennesaw St.) 14 Miami Marlins

Ryne Inman Parkview 15 Seattle Mariners

Isiah Gilliam Parkview (Chipola CC) 20 New York Yankees

Joey Bart Buford 27 Tampa Bay Rays

Jake Higginbotham Buford 27 New York Mets

Christian Turnipseed Ga. Gwinnett College 28 Baltimore Orioles

Connor Bennett Buford 34 Cincinnati Reds

Carter Hall Wesleyan 34 Atlanta Braves

Beau Brundage Mill Creek 38 Philadelphia Phillies

Jared Walsh Peachtree Ridge (Georgia) 39 Los Angeles Angels

2014

Name School Round Organization

Sam Clay Buford (Georgia Tech) 4 Minnesota Twins

Greg Brody Mill Creek (Belmont) 11 San Francisco Giants

Montrell Marshall South Gwinnett 12 Cincinnati Reds

Jamie Ritchie Buford (Belmont) 13 Houston Astros

Josh Heddinger Buford (Georgia Tech) 14 Detroit Tigers

Matt Grimes Mill Creek (Georgia Tech) 18 Baltimore Orioles

Justin Lewis GAC 19 San Diego Padres

Mac Marshall Parkview 21 Houston Astros

Isiah Gilliam Parkview 23 Chicago Cubs

John Fidanza Ga. Gwinnett College 23 Arizona Diamondbacks

Zeke McGranahan Ga. Gwinnett College 23 Baltimore Orioles

Tyler Carpenter Ga. Gwinnett College 25 Los Angeles Angels

Tucker Baca North Gwinnett 32 Atlanta Braves

Eric Alonzo Mill Creek (Ga. Southern) 40 Los Angeles Angels

2013

Name School Round Organization

Austin Meadows Grayson 1 Pittsburgh Pirates

Josh Hart Parkview Comp. A Baltimore Orioles

Nick Blount South Gwinnett (Southern Poly. St.) 9 Chicago White Sox

Nick Jones North Gwinnett (Chatt. Valley CC) 14 San Francisco Giants

Bryan Hudson Mill Creek 15 Boston Red Sox

Jarrett Freeland Parkview 15 Cincinnati Reds

Chris Erwin Grayson 28 Minnesota Twins

Matt Grimes Mill Creek (Georgia Tech) 31 Philadelphia Phillies

2012

Name School Round Organization

Lucas Sims Brookwood 1 Atlanta Braves

James Ramsey Wesleyan (Florida St.) 1 St. Louis Cardinals

Matt Olson Parkview Comp. A Oakland A’s

Mason Felt Hebron 5 Cincinnati Reds

Ronnie Freeman Brookwood (Kennesaw St.) 5 Arizona Diamondbacks

Drew Steckenrider GAC (Tennessee) 8 Miami Marlins

Brian Holmes Mill Creek (Wake Forest) 13 Houston Astros

Ross Heffley Brookwood (Western Carolina) 17 Atlanta Braves

Jordan Hillyer Hebron 20 Miami Marlins

Josh Carr Shiloh (Kennesaw St.) 28 Detroit Tigers

2011

Name School Round Organization

Zach Cone Parkview (Georgia) Comp. A Texas Rangers

Grayson Garvin Wesleyan (Vanderbilt) Comp. A Tampa Bay Rays

Jake Burnette Buford 7 Pittsburgh Pirates

Danny Lockhart Hebron 10 Chicago Cubs

Trey Martin Brookwood 13 Chicago Cubs

Troy Snitker Brookwood (North Georgia) 19 Atlanta Braves

James Ramsey Wesleyan (Florida St.) 22 Minnesota Twins

Justice French Collins Hill (Mercer) 25 Cincinnati Reds

Nick Moore Brookwood 30 Boston Red Sox

Brock Bennett GAC (Alabama) 33 San Francisco Giants

Tyler Maloof Norcross (Georgia) 34 Cleveland Indians

Richard Pirkle Norcross (GCSU) 35 Colorado Rockies

Kent Rollins South Gwinnett 48 San Diego Padres

2010

Name School Round Organization

Chris Hawkins North Gwinnett 3 Toronto Blue Jays

Matthew Grimes Mill Creek 4 Chicago White Sox

Jeff Shields Central Gwinnett (Chattahoochee Valley) 7 Arizona Diamondbacks

Tony Plagman Wesleyan (Georgia Tech) 9 Detroit Tigers

Chase Burnette Buford (Georgia Tech) 18 Cleveland Indians

Justin Earls Collins Hill (Georgia) 31 Texas Rangers

Matt Hill Grayson (Chattahoochee Valley) 33 Texas Rangers

James Buckelew Collins Hill 45 Minnesota Twins

2009

Name School Round Organization

Shannon Wilkerson Dacula (Augusta St.) 8 Boston Red Sox

Brandon Jacobs Parkview 10 Boston Red Sox

Daniel Sarisky Duluth (Oglethorpe) 40 Houston Astros

Forrest Garrett Norcross 41 Texas Rangers

Tony Plagman Wesleyan (Georgia Tech) 46 New York Yankees

Justin Earls Collins Hill (Georgia) 47 Pittsburgh Pirates

2008

Name School Round Organization

Charlie Blackmon North Gwinnett (Georgia Tech) 2 Colorado Rockies

Zach Cone Parkview 3 Los Angeles Angels

Jeremie Tice Dacula (College of Charleston) 6 Cleveland Indians

Collin McHugh Providence (Berry) 18 New York Mets

Rob Flanigan South Gwinnett (North Georgia) 29 San Francisco Giants

Bronson Gagner Parkview 43 Cincinnati Reds

Grayson Garvin Wesleyan 45 Houston Astros

2007

Name School Round Organization

Stephen Dodson Wesleyan (Georgia) 18 Kansas City Royals

Mitch Rider North Gwinnett 47 Florida Marlins

Stephen McCray Parkview (Young Harris) 50 St. Louis Cardinals

2006

Name School Round Organization

Blake Wood North Gwinnett (Georgia Tech) 3 Kansas City Royals

Joey Side South Gwinnett (Georgia) 6 Arizona Diamondbacks

Tim Gustafson Parkview (Georgia Tech) 9 Atlanta Braves

K.D. Kang Parkview 15 Tampa Bay Devil Rays

Justin Curry Buford 33 Cincinnati Reds

Stephen McCray Parkview 34 Tampa Bay Devil Rays

2005

Name School Round Organization

Stephen Brock North Gwinnett (Chipola CC) 14 Los Angeles Angels

Charlie Blackmon North Gwinnett (Young Harris) 20 Boston Red Sox

Kevin Bulger Brookwood (North Georgia) 25 Kansas City Royals

Anthony Carter Parkview (Georgia Perimeter) 26 Chicago White Sox

Drew Morgan Norcross 35 San Diego Padres

2004

Name School Round Organization

Brad McCann Duluth (Clemson) 6 Florida Marlins

Clint Sammons Parkview (Georgia) 6 Atlanta Braves

Chris Covington Brookwood 9 Pittsburgh Pirates

Charlie Blackmon North Gwinnett 28 Florida Marlins

Shaun Spearman St. Pius 38 Chicago White Sox

2003

Name School Round Organization

Brian Rogers Berkmar (Georgia Southern) 11 Detroit Tigers

Adam Brandenburg South Gwinnett (Kennesaw State) 21 Cleveland Indians

Jason Fellows Berkmar (Georgia Perimeter) 36 Chicago Cubs

2002

Name School Round Organization

Jeff Francoeur Parkview 1 Atlanta Braves

Brian McCann Duluth 2 Atlanta Braves

Brian Bulger Brookwood (Georgia College & State) 25 Tampa Bay Devil Rays

Brian Rogers Berkmar 30 Oakland Athletics

Matt Handley GAC 50 Atlanta Braves

2001

Name School Round Organization

Jason Bulger Brookwood (Valdosta State) 1 Arizona Diamondbacks

Jeff Keppinger Parkview (Georgia) 4 Pittsburgh Pirates

Jason Fellows Berkmar 9 PIttsburgh Pirates

Brad Bouras Parkview (Columbus State) 21 Chicago Cubs

Sean Pittman Central Gwinnett (North Georgia) 34 New York Mets

Barry Richardson Dacula (Lake City CC) 35 Kansas City Royals

Clint Sammons Parkview 43 Los Angles Dodgers

Kevin Bulger Brookwood 43 San Francisco Giants

Brian Bulger Brookwood (South Georgia College) 49 San Francisco Giants

2000

Name School Round Organization

Lee Rodney Dacula 10 Detroit Tigers

Billy Keppinger Parkview (Lake City CC) 14 Kansas City Royals

Jordan Griswold Shiloh 18 Montreal Expos

Jonathan Craig Shiloh (Young Harris) 24 New York Mets

Adam Brandenburg South Gwinnett 34 Atlanta Braves