By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Bobby Wahl didn’t hear his name called Thursday night and was grateful he hadn’t planned a big draft watch party.
Only the second starting pitcher to under Mike Bianco to win 10 games in a season, Wahl had been projected to go in the late first or early second round of the Major League Baseball draft.
He didn’t hear his name called until Friday, the fifth round with the 161st pick to the Oakland Athletics.
“I was completely blind-sided to say the least,” said Wahl, who watched Thursday’s first and second rounds with his girlfriend and a small gathering of family back in Springfield, Va.
Wahl went 10-0 and held his earned run average below 2.00 most of the season before finishing at 2.03 in 97.2 innings pitched.
Ole Miss teammates Stuart Turner and Mike Mayers were projected below Wahl, but both went higher.
Turner, the Rebels’ catcher, went in the third round with the 78th pick to Minnesota, Mayers, the right-handed pitcher who followed Wahl in the rotation, in the third round with the 93rd pick to St. Louis.
Ole Miss had a signee drafted in Thursday’s second round, as Northwest Community College left-handed pitcher Cody Reed went with the 46th pick to the Kansas City Royals.
According to Baseball America, the No. 161 pick is valued at $286,200. The last pick in the first round belonged to the New York Yankees and was valued at $1,650,100 – a difference of more than $1.36 million.
Wahl thanked the A’s for “taking a chance” but made no definitive statement on his future.
Another college season like the one he just completed, and it’s possible Wahl could play his way into bigger money.
He said he is considering a return to Ole Miss, but “No matter what would have happened I’d have thought about it, even if I’d have gone in the first 10 picks. Obviously I’m thinking about it, but I’m in a win-win situation here with the Athletics. It’s a great organization. I have to wait and see.”
Wahl said he doesn’t know what caused him to tumble three or four rounds past his draft projections.
The A’s have not given him a timetable to make a decision.
“You truly never know when your name is going to be called. I guess maybe they saw something that you (media) guys didn’t see, something different and they didn’t want to take me at a certain time, but that’s life. God has a plan, and you have to just trust him.”
Around the state
Mississippi State had three players drafted Friday, plus one of its football signees.
Junior shortstop Adam Frazier was taken in the sixth round (179th overall) by Pittsburgh. Senior pitchers Kendall Graveman (eighth round, 235th overall) and Chad Girodo (ninth round, 265th) were both drafted by Toronto.
Frazier has not said whether he’ll go pro or return to MSU next year.
Also drafted was Cord Sandberg, in the third round by Philadelphia (89th overall). He signed with MSU’s football team in February, but he told the Bradenton (Fla.) Herald that he and the Phillies had agreed to a $775,000 signing bonus plus the equivaleny of four years of school at Mississippi State. He has until next month to sign.
The St. Louis Cardinals selected RHP Andrew Pierce of Southern Miss with the 245 pick. Vancleave native Colin Bray went to Arizona with the 180th pick.