Another former South Effingham Mustangs baseball player is joining the ranks of pro baseball.
The Kansas City Royals selected Dalton Griffin in the 21st round of the Major League Baseball first-year player draft, using the 643rd pick overall on the former Mustang.
Former Mustangs coach Ron Womack said the Royals had been in contact with him throughout the 2016 season.
“They said, ‘Coach, we’re going to take him,’ and they took him, Womack said.
Griffin went out to Kansas City a couple of weeks ago for a private workout and of 15 balls Griffin hit, five went over the fence and a couple splashed into the fountain at Kaufmann Stadium.
“He put on a big show, Womack said.
Griffin has been timed at 6.97 seconds in the 60-yard dash and his bat speed has approached 94 miles per hour, according to perfectgame.org. He also threw well at his workout, Womack said, and that helped boost his draft stock.
“He can run, Womack said. “He has humongous hands, and the scouts look at stuff like that. There is a big upside on him. They’re not drafting someone for right now; they are looking five years down the road. He has all the physical tools."
Griffin, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound center fielder, had committed to the University of South Carolina, but he never signed with the Gamecocks. Griffin was apprised he could be a draft pick before the season, and that status weighed on him throughout the year, Womack said.
“It was tough on him, his former coach said. “It bothered him. It’s a lot of decisions on an 18-year-old kid.
He had been a Rawlings-Perfect Game high honorable mention preseason all-American for 2016.
The Royals’ Rookie League team in Surprise, Ariz., is set to start its season, and Griffin left for the Southwest on Tuesday.
“Hopefully, he’ll get all this tools honed out there, Womack said.
Griffin is the fourth former Mustang to be drafted. Austin Chambliss was a 17th round pick of the Colorado Rockies in 2007, while Josh Reddick and JB Wendelken each were drafted by the Boston Red Sox. Reddick, now with the Oakland Athletics, was taken in the 17th round in 2006 and Wendelken, who was optioned back to Triple-A Nashville on June 5, was chosen in the 13th round in 2012. Reddick, Chambliss and Wendelken all played at Middle Georgia College.