In total, 37 NAIA student-athletes were picked by 23 different clubs during the three-day, 40-round event.
Lee’s Myles Smith, a native of Detroit, Mich., was the first NAIA player off the board after being selected in the fourth round (113th overall) by the Boston Red Sox. The junior right-handed pitcher paced the Flames with 94 strikeouts and 84.1 innings pitched in 2013, while tying for the team lead with 11 victories. Smith posted six-or-more strikeouts in 9-of-16 appearances this season, including a season-high 11 against Southern Poly (Ga.) on March 21.
The first position player drafted was Henry Yates of Texas Wesleyan, chosen in the ninth round (274th overall) by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Yates ranked 12th in the NAIA with a .413 batting average, including 13 doubles, five home runs and 45 RBI in 45 games this season.
Lee boasted the most draftees with five — Smith, Jose Samayoa (RHP) (Texas Rangers), Andy Hills (RHP) (Milwaukee Brewers), Clint Terry (LHP) (Milwaukee Brewers) and Alex Moore (RHP) (Milwaukee Brewers).
Lee head coach Mark Brew said having five players drafted is a new record for the Flames. “I think we also have a chance to have a few senior- position players’ sign in the next week or two.”
Lubbock Christian (Texas) was second with four individuals, while Tennessee Wesleyan had three. Arizona Christian, Menlo (Calif.), Oklahoma City and Texas Wesleyan had two selections each.
The Chicago White Sox, Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals tied for the most NAIA selections with three apiece.
Since 2008, the NAIA has averaged 41 individuals selected each year by MLB clubs.
Brew added that having five players drafted speaks volumes for our recruiting efforts which are led by coach (Justin) Dedman. “He has done an excellent job of attracting professional talent. Additionally, coach (Michael) Moody has done an incredible job on the development side with our pitchers.
“If you look at this year’s class Myles Smith went from a 16th rounder to a fourth rounder. Andy Hillis went from 29th rounder to an 11th rounder, Clint Terry went from 36th rounder to an 18th rounder, and both Jose Samayoa and Alex Moore were undrafted until this year.
“This is a tribute to each one’s work ethic, and also to the development within our program. I am proud of each and the opportunity that is in front of them is a life-long dream. They have worked hard for it and we wish them the best,” said Brew.