JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (June 11, 2016) – The 2016 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft concluded on Saturday, and the ETSU baseball team saw five of its players taken over the three-day, 40-round event.
A day after having senior second baseman Trey York (Knoxville, Tenn.) taken in the ninth round by the Milwaukee Brewers, three Buccaneers were drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates while signee Dylan Bice (Ringgold, Ga.) was selected in the 23rd round (699th overall pick) by the Texas Rangers. Sophomore catcher Hagen Owenby (Knoxville, Tenn.) was the first ETSU player taken by the Pirates on Saturday as he came off the board in the 14th round (435th pick), while red-shirt junior shortstop Chris Cook (Kingsport, Tenn.) heard his named called in the 30th round (915th pick) and sophomore outfielder Aaron Maher (Brentwood, Tenn.) went in the 38th round (1155th pick).
Owenby earned second team Louisville Slugger All-American and first team All Southern Conference honors in 2016. The Knoxville, Tenn. native led ETSU in average (.374), hits (88), home runs (17) and slugging percentage (.660), while also scoring 46 runs and driving in 60 in 57 starts for the Blue and Gold. Owenby was named SoCon Player of the Month in May and received Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week honors after hitting .650 and belting home runs in all three games of a series sweep over VMI from April 29 thru May 1. Owenby’s 88 hits this season were the most by a Buccaneer since 2010 when Paul Hoilman finished with 99 and Bo Reeder hit 89.
Cook, a preseason All-SoCon selection, got off to a fast start before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury on March 5. The Buccaneer shortstop hit .351 (13-for-37) with one double, three triples, seven runs and five RBI in nine games this season. In 2015, Cook led the team with 77 hits and tied for the team lead with 55 runs scored, while starting 55 games. To go with the 77 hits and 55 runs, Cook hit .338 with 12 doubles, two triples, five home runs and 40 RBI a year ago, while also making four relief appearances for the Blue and Gold.
Maher took over as ETSU’s every day left fielder and hit primarily in the four-hole in 2016. The Brentwood, Tenn. native hit .315 (69-for-219) with 15 doubles, two triples, nine home runs, 48 runs and 38 RBI in 56 starts for the Bucs this year. Maher, who hit safely in 13 straight games in April, finished with 22 multi-hit games – including a perfect 4-for-4 effort in a win over UNC Asheville on March 2. The Buccaneer slugger also belted a three-run walk-off home run in the 9-8 win over Purdue on March 5.
Bice, a right-handed pitcher from Heritage High School out of Ringgold, Ga., signed his NLI on Nov. 18. PerfectGame pegged Bice as the eighth best high school pitcher in the state of Georgia and the 132nd best pitcher in the country. This season Bice earned Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American and second team all-region honors. In addition to baseball, Bice played basketball and football at Heritage HS.
The Bucs also had five players drafted in 2006 when Stephen Douglas (16th round by Cleveland), Steven Calicutt (21st round by San Francisco), Chuck Hargis (23rd round by Cleveland), Shane Byrne (25th round by Arizona) and Jeremy Hall (27th round by Miami Marlins) were all selected in the MLB First-Year Draft.
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