The Milwaukee Brewers picked N.C. Central University senior and former Knightdale High standout Andrew Vernon in the recent Major League Baseball Draft.
Vernon, a 6-foot-4, 232-pound right-handed pitcher, became the first player chosen from Knightdale or N.C. Central when he was selected by Milwaukee in the 28th round (831st overall).
The 2012 Knightdale grad was among several area college and high school players were taken in the draft, which began June 9 with the first two rounds, continued with rounds 3-10 on June 10 and concluded with 30 more rounds on June 11.
NCAA juniors, junior college players and high school seniors have the option to turn down MLB teams if the two sides cannot come to an agreement.
N.C. State junior Preston Palmeiro will have a chance to play where his father Rafael starred for seven of his 20 seasons. The left-handed hitting first baseman was taken by the Baltimore Orioles in the seventh round (211th overall).
North Carolina junior right-handed pitcher Zac Gallen was taken in third round (106th overall) by the St. Louis Cardinals and junior center fielder Tyler Ramirez was taken in the seventh round (202nd) by the Oakland Athletics.
Both of those Tar Heels could have Wolfpack teammates.
The Cardinals took N.C. State junior catcher Andrew Knizner a few picks after Palmerio in the seventh round (226th) and the Athletics picked left-handed senior reliever Will Gilbert early in the eighth (232nd). Gilbert was also prep standout at Green Hope High School.
North Carolina had a third player taken when junior right-handed pitcher A.J. Bogucki was taken by the Washington Nationals in the eighth round (244th).
Duke junior right-handed pitcher Bailey Clark, whose fastball has reached 99 mph, was taken in the fifth round by the Chicago Cubs (164th).
Former Wakefield star Vance Vizcaino was selected by Kansas City in the 11th round (343rd overall) after his redshirt senior season at Stetson. Vizcaino began his college career at Tennessee.
Clayton product Tyler Keele, now at Morehead State, was taken by Arizona in the 15th round (449th).
Dalton Britt (Liberty) from Greenville’s J.H. Rose High, was taken by Detroit in the 31st round (925th). A few picks later, former Holly Springs catcher Joey Roach (Georgia State) was taken by Tampa Bay in the 31st round (930th). Roach was Carlos Rodon’s high school catcher when the Golden Hawks won the 2011 state title.
So much for specialization. Two-sport stars Bryse Wilson of Orange and D.J. Daniels of Fike High in Wilson were the only two high school players selected from North Carolina in the draft’s first 10 rounds.
Wilson, a right-handed pitcher committed to North Carolina, threw three no-hitters this year including a perfect game. His fastball tops out at 96 mph. Wilson, who was taken by the Atlanta Braves in the fourth round (109th), was all was also an all-state football player who lined up at quarterback, running back, receiver, linebacker and kicker.
Daniels was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the sixth round (192nd). Daniels, an outfielder, is a two-sport star who has signed with James Madison to play both baseball and football.
In the last 30 rounds of the draft, six more players with ties to the Triangle and Eastern N.C. were selected.
Eastern Wayne catcher Zack Smith was selected by Cleveland in the 15th round (452nd overall) right out of high school and the rest were in college.
Not selected were Bunn’s Spencer Brickhouse, D.H. Conley’s Bryant Packard and Orange’s Brad Debo. All three were among the highest-ranked high school players in the country, but MLB teams only draft the high school players they are confident will sign a contract.
Brickhouse and Packard will matriculate to East Carolina, and Debo to South Carolina.