Patterson, Pruitt picked in draft

Friday was a waiting game for Oak Mountain power-hitter Kevin Patterson and University of Montevallo lead-off man J.D. Pruitt, as both anxiously waited to be selected in the Major League Baseball First Year Player’s Draft.

Patterson, who has signed to play at Auburn University, hoped he’d be picked in the high to middle sandwich round on Thursday, between 60-70th overall, but says he is not surprised by his fall to pick 749.

“Where I was projected was not enough money, and the teams knew that. It played out exactly how I thought it would,”Patterson said.

While Patterson says the 24th round selection was not a surprise, it was a surprise to be chosen by the Chicago White Sox, whose only communication with the slugger was a letter sent during the off season.

As Patterson moves to Auburn later this month, he hopes that his advisor will be able to work with the White Sox organization by the August 15 signing deadline to make his dream come true and one day see AA action with the Birmingham Barons.

“I’m really happy that I have a chance to play with an organization that has an affiliate in my hometown,” said Patterson, who collected nine home runs and hit .420 for Oak Mountain this spring.

However, “If it doesn’t work, Auburn is awesome,” Patterson said.

Similar to Patterson, Pruitt had little contact with Oakland, before the Athletics picked him in the 23rd round.

“I thought I’d get drafted by the [Tampa Bay] Devil Rays. I hadn’t talk to Oakland in a while,” Pruitt said.

Pruitt is the first Falcon to be selected in the draft since the New York Yankees selected All-American Jeff Segar in the 23rd round of the 2000 draft.

Former UM head coach Greg Goff is happy for his All-American lead-off hitter, who hit .366 on the year, while collecting 48 stolen bases, nine home runs and 42 RBIs.

“I am very happy for Rick,” said Goff, who liked to shorten Pruitt’s middle name Derrick. “There is no one more deserving for the amount of time he has put into his baseball career. The Oakland Athletics is not only getting a good prospect, but they are getting a good person as well.”

Pruitt signed with Oakland Sunday and will report this week to the Vancouver Canadians.

“I’m just eager to get out there and see what type of atmosphere it really is,” Pruitt said.

Goff hopes one day he’ll be able to watch Pruitt in an Oakland uniform use his talent in the lead-off position.

“It will not surprise me to see him play in the [McAfee] Coliseum one day,” Goff said