Friday was a busy day for D.J. Burt.
In the morning, he officially graduated from Fuquay-Varina High School.
In the afternoon, he was out shopping when he received the phone call that made his dreams come true. He had been drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the fourth round (123rd overall) of the Major League Baseball Draft.
Burt was excited. He bought one more item.
“I just bought another Kansas City Royals hat,” Burt said, adding he wasn’t expecting his name for another few rounds. “It’s crazy getting picked so early. It worked out good though.”
Burt signed a $200,000 signing bonus with the Royals and flew to Arizona on Monday for a week of training.
Just a few picks earlier, a former area high school star heard his name called.
Green Hope graduate Max Povse, who once struck out a school-record 18 batters in a game with the Falcons, was with his family when he picked up the phone. The Atlanta Braves had made him their third-round choice (102nd overall).
“I knew there was a possibility” to go in the third round, Povse said. “When I found out, it was so exciting. It was the greatest moment of my life.”
Burt and Povse share little in common besides both being drafted on Friday and both starting their professional careers immediately. They did both play at least one season of high school basketball – Povse played all four years – but even on the hardwood their differences in stature stand out.
Burt is a 5-foot-9 player right out of high school who who can play up to five different positions. He played mostly shortstop at Fuquay-Varina and hit .423 this past year with four home runs.
Povse is a 6-foot-8 junior right-handed pitcher coming off three years at UNC-Greensboro, where he was 12-14 overall with a 5.32 ERA (209 strikeouts in 215 innings). It was the second time Povse was drafted, the other coming in 2011 when the Los Angeles Dodgers took him in the 42nd round – there are only 40 rounds of the draft now – right out of high school.
Like Povse’s former conference opponent Carlos Rodon of Holly Springs (drafted third overall by the Chicago White Sox on Thursday), he turned down an offer to enter the minor leagues out of high school, and the move paid off with a significant draft improvement.
“I was really happy for him,” Povse said of Rodon. “It’s cool that some of the Tri-9 (Conference) guys are doing big things.”
Burt already knows he will be close to home for much of the summer, playing Rookie League ball in Burlington.
“Like my family said, I just got blessed and couldn’t have done it without the Lord. He just blessed me and my family,” Burt said.