More than 1,200 athletes — including five with local ties — came one step closer to making that dream a reality during last week’s MLB draft.
The first local name called was Alpharetta native, and Florida State superstar, James Ramsey as the 23rd pick in the first round by St. Louis Cardinals.
“The main reason I came to FSU was to become a big leaguer,” said Ramsey on being selected Cardinals. “You’re talking about the World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals, a team with so much rich tradition. It’s unbelievable.”
Ramsey was drafted in the 22nd round by the Twins in 2011, but opted to return for his senior season to bolster his draft stock.
He did just that by .382 with 13 home runs and claiming ACC Player of the Year honors.
Former Blessed Trinity pitcher Bret Marks was taken in the 22nd round by the New York Yankees.
Marks, a freshman pitcher at Wallace State Community College in Alabama, led his conference in wins (11), saves (7), strikeouts (90) and ERA (1.74).
Northview teammates Tyler Krieger and Sean McLaughlin were the only local prep players taken in the 2012 draft. Both said they received calls in the top five rounds from prospective teams, but notified each club they intended to play college baseball first.
“It was a tough decision because my long term dream is to play pro ball,” said Krieger, a 35th round pick by the Mariners that will play at Clemson. “But I felt like it was the right thing to do because I can still improve a lot as a baseball player.”
McLaughlin, a hard-throwing righty that will pitch at Georgia, found himself in a similar situation while flirting with the hometown Atlanta Braves in the early rounds, but the allure of college baseball was too much.
“I pretty much decided that going to Georgia was in my future, but it was still cool to be taken by the Braves,” said the eventual 38th round pick. “It’s an honor just to be drafted; hopefully I’ll be in the same situation in three years.”
The final North Fulton player selected was Paul Schwendel, a former St. Francis star that played at Emory University. Schwendel was taken by the Texas Rangers in the 40th and final round.
“It’s been my dream my whole life [to get drafted],” said Schwendel, the first St. Francis alum ever selected. “I’m absolutely going to give it a go and [play minor league baseball].”