NC State’s Will Wilson: ‘You just go out there and play for the guys beside you each and every day’
Shortstops were a hot commodity in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft on Monday night.
Five shortstops were taken in the first 15 picks and nine overall in the first round.
N.C. State’s Will Wilson went No. 15 overall to the Los Angeles Angels and seven picks later the Tampa Bay Rays took Cary’s Greg Jones, a standout at UNC-Wilmington this season. Clemson’s Logan Davidson, who’s from Charlotte, went No. 29 to the Oakland A’s.
Pitcher George Kirby also became the first player from Elon to be taken in the first round since 1971. The Seattle Mariners selected the hard-throwing right-hander with the No. 20 pick.
North Carolina also got in on the first-round fun. The Los Angeles Dodgers took UNC first baseman Michael Busch with the No. 31 pick.
Wilson led the Wolfpack in hitting (.335 batting average) and home runs (16) and was second on the team with 57 RBIs. The 6-0, 184-pound junior from Kings Mountain was the ACC defensive player of the year at shortstop but is expected to move to second base for pro ball.
The MLB Network crew working the draft, including Oregon State coach Pat Casey, was very complimentary of Wilson.
“He’s going to be in the big leagues in a hurry,” Casey said during the broadcast.
The Mariners took Kirby, the Colonial Athletic Association pitcher of the year, at No. 20. The big righty (6-4, 201) went 8-2 with a 2.75 earned run average for the Phoenix. Incredibly, he had 107 strikeouts and only six walks in 88.1 innings this season.
Jones is no stranger to the draft. He was a 17th-round pick out of Cary High in 2017 but turned down a lucrative offer from Baltimore to play for the Seahawks. The switch-hitting shortstop (6-2, 190) has speed to burn. He was the CAA player of the year with a .341 batting average. He also had 45 stolen bases and nine triples.
Wilson wasn’t the only player with an N.C. State connection taken in the first round. The Arizona Diamondbacks took Blake Walston, a left-handed pitcher from New Hanover High in Wilmington, with the 26th pick.
Walston, who is 6-5 and 175 pounds, has committed to play for the Wolfpack next season but will have a choice to make. The Diamondbacks have $2.65 million allotted for that pick.
Davidson, who went to Charlotte Providence High, had 15 home runs and 55 RBIs for the Tigers this season.
Busch helped the Tar Heels win the ACC title and reach the Super Regionals. He has hit 16 home runs with 57 RBIs. A versatile defender at UNC, Busch is expected to move to second base in the pros for the Dodgers.