June 8, 2010
By Cameron Harris, Assistant Media Relations Director
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Five members of the University of Tennessee baseball team and four Volunteer signees heard their names called on the second day of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on Tuesday.
"To have 10 players and counting drafted over the past two years shows the kind of program that we are working to build here at Tennessee," UT Head Coach Todd Raleigh said. "Obviously, we have a number of current players and signees that have some decisions about their futures to make, but that is a good problem for us to have because it means we are bringing in and developing the kind of talent we need to in order to succeed.
"Our assistant coaches, Bradley LeCroy and Jason Beverlin, deserve a lot of credit for the amount of talent we have either currently on our roster or arriving next year. Their hard work, both recruiting such tremendous student-athletes to our team and developing them on the field, has us on track to become the type of program we want to be."
In 19 seasons as a collegiate coach, Raleigh has now produced a total of 44 MLB draft picks, including 12 during his three years at Tennessee.
The Vols have had at least one player selected in each of the last 27 drafts, with 106 selections during that span for an average of 3.93 per year. This year marks the sixth in the last eight that UT has had at least four players drafted.
A 6-2 catcher, Forsythe was the first Volunteer selected on Tuesday, going 89th overall in the third round to the New York Mets. The Memphis, Tenn., product was the third college catcher taken, behind only Miami's Yasmani Grandal (12th overall) and Michael Kvansnicka from Minnesota (33rd overall). Forsythe played in all 55 games for Tennessee last season, starting 51 behind the plate. He finished as the team leader in home runs with 15 and second on the squad with 57 RBIs.
During his three years wearing the Orange and White, Forsythe has hit .300 with 30 home runs and knocked in 107 runs. His home run total currently ranks eighth in the UT record books, while his 29 hit-by-pitches place him sixth in the school annals. Last season, he threw out 34.6 percent of potential base-stealers.
The second UT player to be picked was Morgado who went to the Philadelphia Phillies with the 141st overall pick in the fourth round. The Vols' Friday night starter for most of 2010, the Miami, Fla., native finished with a 2-7 record and 7.90 ERA in 68.1 innings of work. He led the squad with 74 strikeouts and completed his career in Knoxville with 253 punchouts, good for a tie with Jamie Bennett for fourth all-time in school history.
For the third time in his career, Hawn heard his name get called in the MLB Draft. On Tuesday, it was the Milwaukee Brewers who picked him for the second time. After selecting him in the 23rd round following his senior season at South Doyle High School in Knoxville, the Brew Crew tabbed Hawn in the sixth round this year with the 89th overall pick.
As a junior, Hawn hit .327 with 14 home runs and a squad-best 61 RBIs. He also paced the team with a .593 slugging percentage and was second with a .441 on-base percentage. Including the 22 longballs he hit in 2009, Hawn has 36 home runs in his two years as a Vol, placing him third all-time and just two behind Tennessee legend Todd Helton who had 38 from 1993-95.
The Detroit Tigers made Polk their 13th round pick with the 403rd selection of the day. The Murfreesboro, Tenn., native had a breakout season, hitting at a team-best .352 clip during his junior campaign. He also became just the fifth Tennessee player since 1980 to have 10+ home runs and 20+ stolen bases in a single season, finishing with 12 longballs and 25 stolen bases. Jeff Christensen accomplished the feat in both 2000 and 2001, while Jeff Foster, Chris Burke and Eli Iorg did it in 1993, 2001 and 2005, respectively.
A 6-4 right-handed pitcher, McCray was selected with the 488th overall pick by the Chicago White Sox in the 16th round. Originally from Lilburn, Ga., he solidified the Tennessee starting rotation this season, going 6-4 with a 3.04 ERA in a team-high 91.2 innings. He held opponents to a miniscule .222 batting average, while striking out 64 and walking 30.
Four Vol signees also heard their names called on Tuesday, beginning with Chris Hawkins from North Gwinnett, Ga., who was drafted in the third round (93rd overall) by the Toronto Blue Jays. Just one round later, Andrew Toles, from Sandy Creek High School in Tyrone, Ga., was selected by the Florida Marlins with the 137th overall pick.
In-state products Taylor Morton and Matt Kirkland, from Bartlett and Knoxville, Tenn., respectively were drafted in the ninth and 12th rounds. Morton was picked by the Yankees with the 295th selection and Kirkland went to the Dodgers with the 382nd pick.
The draft will conclude with rounds 31-50 tomorrow. The 30 Major League teams will resume their selections at Noon.
|Vols in 2010 MLB Draft|
|Blake Forsythe||New York Mets||3rd||89th|
|Bryan Morgado||Philadelphia Phillies||4th||141st|
|Cody Hawn||Milwaukee Brewers||6th||189th|
|P.J. Polk||Detroit Tigers||13th||403rd|
|Stephen McCray||Chicago White Sox||16th||488th|