Eight Jaguars or alumni selected in past 2 drafts
When 40-plus professional and college scouts swarmed Jaguar Field on Scout Day last fall, one would suspect something was up. It was confirmed on MLB Draft Day 3, bonanza day for the Georgia Perimeter College baseball program.
Five Jaguars—Dustin Beggs, J.T. Phillips and three alumni—were selected by Major League organizations in the 2014 MLB First-Year Player Draft.
Leading off the pick parade was right-handed pitcher Beggs. Beggs was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 17th round, the 525th pick overall.
Right on his heels came pitcher-shortstop Phillips, taken by the Texas Rangers at No. 546 in the 18th round as a pitcher.
Pictured: J.T. Philips(above) Dustin Beggs(top right)
More credit soon followed for the Jaguar program and, especially, head coach Brett Campbell, when in Round 24, pick 525, the Oakland Athletics chose Dawson Brown, a right-hander who pitched for GPC in 2013.
That makes it four pitchers selected in two drafts that were mentored by Campbell, a former pitcher in the Washington Nationals’ organization. Last June the Athletics took Sam Bragg, who currently tosses for the Beloit Snappers in the Class A Midwest League.
A fourth Jaguar pitcher was selected in the 26th round Saturday, John Mark Connell, who went to the Los Angeles Angels as pick No. 779. Connell played for the Jaguars in 2011 under former coach Danny Blue, transferred to Kennesaw State University and pitched in the NCAA Division 1 Super Regional at the University of Louisville.
Also selected in last year’s draft was another Jaguar pitcher, coached by Danny Blue, Alan Busenitz, a right-hander now throwing for the Angels’ Burlington Bees in the Midwest League.
That’s six Jaguar pitchers to the pros in the past two drafts.
“I’m very humbled at the number of pitchers we’ve had drafted the last two years, as I take pride in our pitching,” Campbell said. “I was fortunate to learn from the very best, and it’s great to see that knowledge translate to the success of our young pitchers.”
Topping off the GPC news Saturday, rifle-armed John Fidanza, a catcher for Georgia Gwinnett College who played for the Jaguars in 2012, was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 23rd round at No. 690.
Outfielder Christopher Madera, a 2012 player, was drafted last year, so the total number of Jaguars chosen in the two drafts is eight players.
“It really is a testament to the type of players we have coming to GPC,” Campbell said. But I’m also very proud of the job my coaching staff has done developing these guys into potential draft picks.” Campbell's assistant coaches are Jeremy Brotherton and Brock Bennett, both standout college players. Bennett caught for Alabama and was drafted by the San Francisco Giants. Brotherton played second base for Kennesaw State and played professionally for two seasons in the Frontier League.
“GPC truly has everything you need as a player to make the jump to professional baseball,” Campbell said. “We have an amazing facility, play great competition and have coaches who not only care deeply about each player but also have been to the highest levels and know what it takes to get there.”
Article Courtesy Wade Marbaugh; Photos by David Tulis