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Five Yellow Jackets Selected in 2011 MLB Draft

June 7, 2011

ATLANTA –The Georgia Tech baseball team had five players selected in the 2011 Major League Baseball First-Year player draft, highlighted by junior pitcher Jed Bradley who was selected 15th overall on Monday.

Bradley is just the third Georgia Tech pitcher to ever to be selected in the first round, joining Deck McGuire — who was picked 11th overall by the Toronto Blue Jays last season – and former hurler Kevin Brown. Brown was taken seventh overall by the Texas Rangers in 1986. Bradley is the school’s 10th overall first-round selection and seventh under head coach Danny Hall.

The Huntsville, Ala. native holds an 18-11 career record, having struck out 254 batters in 234.0 innings. His 9.7 strikeouts per nine innings rank 10th all-time in the Georgia Tech record books. He earned All-ACC second team honors in both 2010 and 2011, and was named a 2011 preseason All-American by both Baseball America and Louisville Slugger.

Tech’s No. 2 weekend starter on the mound ended his junior season with a 7-3 record, holding a 3.49 ERA with 106 strikeouts. He recorded 106 strikeouts (9.7 K/9) in 98.0 innings, tying for the most strikeouts on the team and the sixth most in the ACC. Bradley allowed just 17 extra base hits, including one home run all season.

“It was a surprise when I was called,” Bradley said. “but a very good surprise. I was very nervous before the draft, but I was excited to see my name called. I look forward to the prospect of moving forward in my career.”

Junior third baseman Matt Skole was the first Jacket taken on day two of selections, as the Washington Nationals drafted him in the fifth round with the 157th overall pick. The Woodstock, Ga. native concluded his third season on the Flats with a team-leading .348 batting average, having belted 10 home runs with 58 RBIs. Skole also held a .545 slugging percentage and a .445 on-base percentage.

A freshman All-America selection in 2009, Skole earned All-ACC honors in both the 2010 and 2011 seasons.

“It was real exciting,” said Skole of hearing his name called. “It has been a life-long dream of mine to get drafted, and my family and I are real excited. I am glad the Nationals have given me the opportunity to pursue my goals, and hopefully everything will work out.”

Junior pitcher Mark Pope was taken later in the same round going to the San Diego Padres with the 173rd overall pick. Pope was previously selected in 2009, an 18th round pick by the Atlanta Braves out of high school.

The Marietta, Ga. native was one of the top pitchers in the ACC this season after going 11-4 with a 1.74 ERA in 113.2 innings. The Jackets’ Friday starter earned Louisville Slugger All-America honors, was a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award (nation’s top amateur player) and was named to the All-ACC First Team.

He is 24-6 with a 3.00 ERA in three seasons, having tossed six career complete games. Pope’s four career complete game shutouts are a Georgia Tech modern day record, while the 3.00 ERA is the 10th-best in the school record books.

The Florida Marlins took junior shortstop Jacob Esch in the 11th round (343 overall) on Tuesday. Despite playing most of his career in the infield, Esch was drafted as a pitcher by the Marlins.

The St. Paul, Minn. native started all 63 games for the Jackets, batting .319 with six home runs, 41 RBI and nine stolen bases. Esch led the entire ACC with 23 doubles on the year. The multi-talented junior made six appearances on the mound (5.0 IP), holding a 1.80 ERA with one save.

He earned Capitol One Academic All-America honors and was a quarterfinalist for the Brooke’s Wallace Award, given to the nation’s top shortstop.

All four Tech juniors maintain a season of eligibility.

The final Yellow Jacket picked in the draft was senior pitcher Kevin Jacob, who was chosen by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 31st round (950th) on day three of selections.

Jacobs’ selection was his second in as many seasons, as he was taken in the 19th round of the 2010 draft by the New York Yankees. The right-hander bounced back from an injury-plagued junior year to finish his career on the Flats with a 2.25 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 17 appearances (16.0 IP) in 2011.

After allowing three runs in his first two outings during his senior season, the Baltimore, Md. native went on to produce shutouts in 12 of his next 15 appearances. He ended his career at Tech with a 4.34 ERA, a 5-4 record and 119 strikeouts in 112.0 IP.

Six Tech signees were also taken in the draft – Dwight Smith (Toronto, Compensation A), Jake Burnette (Pittsburgh, 7th Rd.), Tyler Gibson (Detroit, 15th Rd.), Cole Pitts (Cleveland, 32nd Rd.), A.J. Murray (Houston, 48th Rd.) and Charles Sheffield (Oakland, 49th). Burnette is the younger brother of former Tech outfielder Chase Burnette (2008-2010).

Georgia Tech players in the 2011 MLB draft
Rd. (Pick), Name, Pos., Team
1 (15) Jed Bradley, Jr., LHP, Milwaukee Brewers
5 (157) Matt Skole, Jr., 3B, Washington Nationals
5 (173) Mark Pope, Jr. RHP, San Diego Padres
11 (343) Jacob Esch, Jr., RHP/INF, Florida Marlins
31 (950) Kevin Jacob, Sr., RHP, St. Louis Cardinals

Georgia Tech Signees in the 2011 MLB Draft
Rd.(Pick), Name, Pos., Team
Compensation A (53) Dwight Smith, OF, Toronto Blue Jays
7 (212) Jake Burnette, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
15 (467) Tyler Gibson, OF, Detroit Tigers
32 (968) Cole Pitts, RHP, Cleveland Indians
48 (1450) A.J. Murray, C, Houston Astros
49 (1486) Charles Sheffield, OF, Oakland Athletics

* At least one Georgia Tech player has been selected in the MLB Draft every year since 1980. Since 1965, there has only been seven seasons (1970-72, 75-76, 78, 80) that no Tech player has been selected in the draft.

* 148 different Georgia Tech players have been selected in the MLB draft, 107 of which have come during Hall’s tenure.

* There have been a total of 172 draft selections in Georgia Tech history.

* A total of 64 players that were drafted out of high school have chosen to attend Georgia Tech, 43 of which have played for Hall (including Pope).

* Georgia Tech has had 10 overall first round selections in program history, including three pitchers.

* This marks the 20th consecutive year (1992-2011) that at least one student-athlete from an ACC program has been taken in the first round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

* . It is the 10th time in the last 11 years that the conference has seen multiple players taken in the first round.


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