ATLANTA (August 23) — Of the six players in Georgia Tech’s recruiting class who were selected in Major League Baseball’s June draft, three arrived on campus and attended their first classes Monday – catcher Tyler Parker and pitcher Philip Perry, both of Marietta, Ga., and outfielder Jon Henry Kail of Pittsburgh, Pa.
In all, head coach Danny Hall welcomed seven scholarship freshmen and three walk-ons, as well as 21 returning players in preparation for the start of fall practice Sept. 7.
Parker and Kail were sixth-round draft choices by the New York Mets and Boston Red Sox, respectively, while Perry was a 41st-round selection by the Mets. The last Tech recruit to sign a professional contract was left-handed pitcher Richard Stahl of Covington, Ga., who agreed to terms with the Baltimore Orioles Sunday. Two other signees, outfielder Aron Weston of Solon, Ohio, a third-round choice by Pittsburgh, and pitcher Kyle Colton of Orlando, Fla., a 23rd-round pick by Atlanta, signed shortly after the draft.
The rest of Tech’s recruiting class includes pitchers Jeff Watchko of Roswell, Ga., and Ronnie Robinson of Dunwoody, Ga.; infielder Jason Perry of Jonesboro, Ga., and outfielder Davis Myers of Alpharetta, Ga.
The Jackets, however, lost veteran pitcher Simon Young, a lefthander from Flowery Branch, Ga., who was a 48th-round pick of the Cleveland Indians. Young, a junior who posted a 7-3 record and a 4.10 ERA last season before injuring a finger on his pitching hand in April, agreed to terms with the Indians Saturday. Tech also lost all-America Chuck Crowder, who graduated and was drafted in the fourth round by Colorado.
“We felt it was a dead issue since he was injured and couldn’t pitch this summer,” said head coach Danny Hall. “But we wish Simon good luck and success. He had pitched great for us in the spring prior to the injury, so we lose an established pitcher. But just like he stepped up for us last year, this gives someone else an opportunity to establish himself this fall.”
The loss leaves Tech’s pitching staff with one senior, Ben Sheeter (3-2, two saves, 4.43); two juniors, Cory Vance (9-3, 4.43) and Andy Mitchell (3-1, 4.26); four sophomores and three freshmen for the 2000 season as the Jackets seek to return to the NCAA Tournament. The four sophomores, all drafted players who were part of last year’s top-rated recruiting class, combined for only five Tech wins as freshmen but enjoyed solid summer league seasons.
All but two of Tech’s top hitters return for next season, led by all-America third baseman Mark Teixeira, who led Tech in every offensive category as a freshman with a .387 batting average, 13 home runs and 65 RBI. The Jackets return seven other players who started 32 games or more, and seven regulars who hit better than .300. “Offensively, we have a chance to be very good,” said Hall, whose team was 41-22 last year but was left home from the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1984. “We’re a year older, and several of our guys had great summers in wood bat leagues.”