Players with local ties selected in MLB draft
By DREW GRANTHUM/Sports Editor
It paid to be a player with ties to Shelby County during the Major League Baseball draft — literally.
Several players native to the area or currently playing at a school in the county found their names called during the selection process, held June 5-7.
Former Spain Park and current University of Mississippi pitcher Chris Ellis was selected 88th overall by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The six-foot-five, 205-pounder has gone 10-1 with an ERA of 2.14 during the season, including wins over top-ranked South Carolina and 13th ranked Mississppi State, among others.
University of Montevallo standout Will Fulmer was taken by the New York Mets in the 22nd round of the draft. The second baseman hit .380 on the season with five home runs and 45 RBIs. He set the UM record for runs scored in a career with 203, and became the highest Falcon selected in the program’s NCAA Division-II era.
Former Pelham and Samford star Tripp Martin was taken by the Texas Rangers just 11 picks behind Fulmer. Martin, a redshirt junior, spent two years at Coastal Carolina before transferring to Samford. After sitting out the season due to NCAA transfer rules, Martin batted .247 with 11 home runs and 36 RBIs. His 11 homers led all Bulldogs for the season.
Spain Park alum Alex Close was taken in the 27th round by the Kansas City Royals. Close is listed as a freshman at Liberty University, where he batted .323 on the season. Close knocked nine home runs and drove in 46 RBIs, ranking second and first respectively in each category.