0

MLB DRAFT ROUNDUP: Lee County's Nichols selected by Angels in 16th round of MLB Draft (EDITS: corrects to 16th round throughout)

Photo by John Bazemore

Photo by John Bazemore

ATLANTA - Nine members of Georgia Tech's baseball team, along with four of the Yellow Jackets signees, were selected on the second day of the 2010 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on Tuesday.

Most notably for Southwest Georgia baseball fans was Thomas Nichols, a Georgia Tech junior who starred at Lee County and was named The Albany Herald 2007 Player of the Year.

The Los Angeles Angels took Nichols in the 16th round (No. 504). Nichols, a 2010 second-team All-ACC, Second-Team honoree, led the team in batting with a .376 average while belting 10 home runs and 41 RBI as the designated hitter.

After pitcher Deck McGuire was taken 11th overall on Monday by the Toronto Blue Jays, Tech currently has 10 total selections in this year's draft, tying the 2004 and 2007 squads for the school record.

Nine different organizations have drafted the 10 Tech players, with the final day of selections coming on Wednesday.

Juniors Derek Dietrich, Cole Leonida and Brandon Cumpton, seniors Tony Plagman and Andrew Robinson, and juniors Nichols, Chase Burnette, Kevin Jacob and Jeff Rowland were all drafted on the second day of the 2010 draft in listed order.

Signees Matthew Grimes (Millcreek, Ga.), Alexander Lavisky (Cleveland, Ohio), DeAndre Smelter (Macon, Ga.) and Daniel Palka (Lyman, S.C.) were also taken on day two of this year's draft.

Shortstop Dietrich was the first Jacket drafted on the day, as the Tampa Bay Rays drafted him in the second round with the 79th overall pick. The Parma, Ohio native concluded his junior season hitting a .350 clip, with 17 home runs and 66 RBI. He earned All-ACC honors for the third time in his career after being named to the team in 2010.

He joins McGuire to give the Jackets two top-100 picks.

Junior catcher Cole Leonida was selected by the Washington Nationals four rounds later, with the 176th overall pick (6th round). Leonida batted .296 with 11 home runs and 56 RBI in his first season as the full-time catcher for the Jackets.

A pair of Tech players went in the ninth round, as the Pittsburgh Pirates selected junior pitcher Brandon Cumpton at pick No. 267, and the Detroit Lions drafted senior Tony Plagman at 283.

Cumpton posted a 9-3 record with a 5.50 ERA in his third season on the Flats, recording 53 strikeouts in 73 2/3 innings. He is Tech's second weekend starter taken in the 2010 draft.

Plagman ended his senior season with a team-high 21 home runs and 78 RBI, while hitting .360 on the year. He is one of just 12 players in school history to eclipse the 20 home run mark in a single season, and concludes his career ranked among Tech's career top-10 in hits (7th, 287), runs scored (7th, 213), doubles (7th, 56), home runs (3rd, 55), RBI (219, 6th) and total bases (2nd, 513). He was named third-team All-America by Louisville Slugger, and a first-team All-ACC honoree in 2010.

Andrew Robinson was drafted in the 12th round (363) by the Houston Astros. The right-handed pitcher had an outstanding final season at Tech as the team's closer, going a perfect 8-for-8 in save opportunities, while posting a 4-0 record and a 2.43 ERA. Robinson had 25 strikeouts in

33 1/3 innings.

The Cleveland Indians drafted Chase Burnette in the same round at No.

540. Burnette batted .356 with 17 home runs and 66 RBI during his junior year. The New York Yankees selected Kevin Jacob at pick No. 565 later in the same round. The junior right-hander missed most of the season with shoulder tendinitis, but recorded 13 strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings of relief. He made two saves on the year and held a 5.23 ERA.

Jeff Rowland became the second Yellow Jacket selected on the day by the Detroit Tigers, as he went in the 19th round at pick No. 583. Rowland led the team in runs scored (75) and triples (7), while batting .322 with 10 home runs and 42 RBI.

McGuire, Dietrich, Leonida, Cumpton, Nichols, Burnette, Jacob and Rowland all maintain a season of eligibility.

Notes:

* At least one Georgia Tech player has been selected in the MLB Draft every year since 1980. Since 1965, there has only been seven seasons (1970-72, 75-76, 78, 80) that no Tech player has been selected in the draft.

* 144 different Georgia Tech players have been selected in the MLB draft, 103 of which have come during Hall's tenure.

* There have been a total of 167 draft selections in Georgia Tech history.

* A total of 58 players that were drafted out of high school have chosen to attend Georgia Tech, 37 of which have played for Hall (including Dietrich).

Georgia Tech players in the 2010 MLB draft

Rd. (Pick), Name, Pos., Team

1 (11) Deck McGuire, Jr., RHP, Toronto Blue Jays

2 (79) Derek Dietrich, Jr., SS, Tampa Bay Rays

6 (176) Cole Leonida, Jr. C, Washington Nationals

9 (267) Brandon Cumpton, Jr., RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates

9 (293) Tony Plagman, Sr., 1B, Detroit Tigers

12 (363) Andrew Robinson, Sr. RHP, Houston Astros

16 (504) Thomas Nichols, Jr., 3B/DH, LA Angels

18 (540) Chase Burnette, Jr., OF, Cleveland Indians

18 (565) Kevin Jacob, Jr., RHP, New York Yankees

19 (583) Jeff Rowland, Jr., OF, Detroit Tigers

Georgia Tech Signees in the 2010 MLB Draft Rd. (Pick), Name, Pos., Team

1 (15) Jake Skole, OF*, Texas Rangers

1 (30) Chevez Clarke, OF, Los Angeles Angels

4 (128) Matthew Grimes, RHP, Chicago White Sox

8 (240) Alexander Lavisky, C, Cleveland Indians

14 (435) DeAndre Smelter, RHP, Minnesota Twins

19 (591) Daniel Palka, 1B, Philadelphia Phillies