KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Seven Tennessee baseball players were selected in the 2021 Major League Baseball Draft.
The Vols fell one short of the program record of eight, set back in 1992. The 1992 draft was 50 rounds, and this years draft was only 20 rounds.
Chad Dallas, pitcher – Dallas was the first Tennessee player off the board. He was picked in the fourth round (No. 121 overall) by the Toronto Blue Jays. Dallas led the Vols in wins, 11, and strikeouts, 122, in 2021.
Liam Spence, shortstop – Spence was picked in the fifth round (No. 154 overall) by the Chicago Cubs. This means UT fans may get to cheer for him again in the future with the Tennessee Smokies. Spence led the Vols with a .336 batting average in 2021.
Max Ferguson, second baseman – Ferguson was also selected in the fifth round. The San Diego Padres picked Ferguson with the 160th overall selection. Ferguson led the Vols with 15 stolen bases in 2021.
Connor Pavolony, catcher – Pavolony was picked in the seventh round (No. 197 overall) by the Baltimore Orioles. Pavolony hit .260 with 14 extra-base hits in 2021.
Jake Rucker, third baseman – Rucker was picked in the seventh round (No. 219 overall) by the Minnesota Twins. Rucker was second on the team with a .330 batting average in 2021.
Jackson Leath, pitcher – Leath was selected by the Texas Rangers in the 12th round (No. 344 overall). Leath was expected to be the ace of the staff in 2021 but an injury derailed his season back in February.
Sean Hunley, pitcher – Hunley was selected in the 19th round (No. 581 overall) by the Tampa Bay Rays. Hunley was Tony Vitello’s most reliable option out of the bullpen, proven by his program record 35 appearances.
Drafted Vols with eligibly left could still return to Tennessee.
Several Tennessee commitments and transfers were selected in the MLB Draft as well.
Brady House, shortstop – House was selected in the first round (No. 11 overall) by the Washington Nationals. House is a high ceiling player who’s strength comes at the plate. He hits for both average and power. He is expected to sign with the Nationals.
Ryan Spikes, shortstop – Spikes was drafted in the third round (No. 100 overall) by the Tampa Bay Rays. He’s a power hitting shortstop who could wind up at 2nd base in the big leagues. Spikes is expected to sign with the Rays.
Dayton Dooney, second baseman – Dooney was selected in the sixth round (No. 169 overall) by the Kansas City Royals. Dooney is a transfer from the University of Arizona by way of Central Arizona College. He’s a switch hitting prospect who brings power to the plate. Dooney is likely to sign with Kansas City.
Seth Halvorsen, pitcher – Halvorsen was selected in the 19th round (No. 565 overall) by the Philadelphia Phillies. He was the ace of the Missouri staff last season but had announced a transfer to Tennessee.
Chase Burns, pitcher – Burns was selected in the 20th round (No. 610 overall) by the San Diego Padres. Burns is a power arm who’s fastball is consistently in the high 90s and touches 100 mph. He announced on social media his plan to still attend Tennessee.