KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Some Vols baseball players’ names could be called in the upcoming Major League Baseball Draft, which gets underway on Sunday, July 11 and runs through Tuesday.
The first round begins at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 11. Day 2 begins at 1 p.m. ET on Monday, July 12 with Rounds 2-10. Rounds 11-20 will take place on Tuesday, July 13 beginning at noon.
Several Tennessee baseball players are expected to hear their names called. Here are the most likely guys to be drafted.
1. Max Ferguson, 2nd Baseman– Ferguson hit in the number two hole for most of the year for the Vols batting .253 with 12 homeruns and 46 RBI. He’s a plus hitter but most of his value comes from his versatility in the field and his speed. Max has played all over the infield but settled in at 2nd base in 2021. Ferguson is a factor on the base paths stealing 15 bases as a junior. Ferguson is expected to be an early round pick. Prediction: 2nd round
2. Chad Dallas, Pitcher- After Jackson Leath went down with an injury early in the season, Dallas took over as the ace of the staff for Tennessee. Dallas responded with an 11-2 record, finishing with a 4.19 ERA. The strength of his game is making opposing hitters swing and miss. He struck out 122 hitters in 103 innings of work in 2021. Dallas is expected to be a mid round pick. Prediction: 6th round
3. Jake Rucker, 3rd Baseman– Rucker manned the number three spot in the lineup for the majority of the season for Tennessee, hitting .330 with 9 homeruns and 55 RBI. He also led the team with 21 doubles. He’s a balanced prospect who’s solid at the plate and in the field. He has versatility in the field with experience at both 2nd base and shortstop. Prediction 6th round
4. Connor Pavolony, Catcher- After a slow start where Pavolony was battling a hand injury, he finished the 2021 season strong hitting .260 with 7 homeruns and 26 RBI. He displays plus power as a couple of his homers late in the season were absolute bombs. His real strength comes on the defensive side of the ball. Pavolony has a special bond with the pitching staff and has a strong arm behind the plate. Prediction 9th round
5. Liam Spence, Shortstop- Spence was in the leadoff spot for the Vols for most of the 2021 season. He led the team in batting average .336 and runs scored with 63. Spence is a magician in the field but may have to move to 2nd base at the next level due to his arm strength. Prediction 13th round
6. Pete DerKay- At 5’10 210 lbs. DerKay doesn’t have the size or athleticism most MLB teams are looking for, but what he lacks there he makes up for with how he handles the bat in pressure situations. DerKay hit .291 with 4 homeruns and 21 RBI in 2021. Prediction 20th round
Other Vols to keep an eye on include (P) Jackson Leath, (P) Camden Sewell, (P) Sean Hunley, (1B) Luc Lipcius, and (OF) Evan Russell.
Tennessee signees to look out for include (SS) Brady House, (SS) Ryan Spikes, and (P) Chase Burns.