All three weekend starters and the Flames' closer, plus another reliever have gotten the call from professional scouts.
Junior pitcher Myles Smith didn’t have to wait long to hear his name announced in the second day of the draft as the Boston Red Sox made him the 113th overall pick in the fourth round. Later on Friday, senior starter Jose Samayoa was drafted in the ninth round by the Texas Rangers.
The Milwaukee Brewers must have liked what they saw in the Lee pitching staff, taking big right-handed closer Andy Hillis, lefty starter Clint Terry and former Cleveland State reliever Alex Moore in the 11th, 18th and 28th rounds respectively.
Smith became the highest draft selection in Lee's rich baseball history Friday.
Currently with the Toronto Blue Jay organization, shortstop Lance Zawadkzi was also picked in the fourth round of the 2006 draft by the San Diego Padres but was the 147th player selection overall.
"I am really excited for Myles," said Lee head coach Mark Brew. "It is an honor to be drafted, but to be drafted in the fourth round shows how much the Red Sox believe in his ability. He was already a 16th rounder last year for the New York Mets, but his hard work and time in our program, in particular with pitching coach (Michael Moody) really paid off for him. His velocity continued to improve all year, and what separates him from most was his ability to maintain or even increase his velocity late in games. He has earned this opportunity, and we wish him the best."
Smith is the highest NAIA player taken in the 2013 draft and the second highest between NAIA and NCAA Division II programs. David Ledbetter, a right-handed pitcher from Cedarville University in Ohio, was selected in the third round (99th pick overall) by the Texas Rangers.
Smith, a native of Detroit, transferred to Lee from Miami (Fla.) Dade Community College for the 2013 season and was followed by dozens of Major League scouts during the entire 2013 campaign. His fastball was recorded in the mid to high 90s, and his athletic ability was a bonus attraction for the scouts.
The gifted hurler was 11-4 overall with a 2.67 ERA. He recorded 84.1 innings of mound duty and registered 94 strikeouts to go along with 38 walks.
Samayoa, a right-handed pitcher, posted an impressive 10-1 record with an 1.73 ERA. In 78.1 innings, he fanned 83 and walked only 19 this past season.
"I am extremely proud of Jose," said coach Brew. "He's been one of the hardest workers in our program, and I am glad that has paid off for him with this opportunity. In addition, he is just a super person. We have had pitchers with better arms than Jose, but Jose is arguably the best pitcher we have ever had in a Flames uniform. He really knows how to pitch, and his competitiveness and command of four pitches make him a great sign for the Rangers. We wish Jose the best as he chases this dream.”
Hillis, a 6-foot-7, 220-pound, right-handed fireballer from Brentwood was chosen 332 overall by the Brewers. Last year Hillis was drafted in the 29th round by the St. Louis Cardinals, but elected to return to Lee and pitch in college ball for one more season.
He was used as the closer for the Flames and posted an outstanding 0.96 ERA. In 37 1/3 innings, Hillis recorded a 3-0 record with nine saves. He struck out 66 batters and walked 19.
"I believe Andy is a big get for the Milwaukee Brewers," stated coach Brew after learning who selected Hillis. "I think Andy's development over the last year has been incredible. His fastball has jumped 3-to-4 miles per hour, and he has been clocked as high as 99 miles per hour this spring.
"The emergence of a quality slider has been the difference for him this year. He can be dominant in a closer's role or in a set-up situation. However, whatever role they give him, Andy has a chance to have a great professional career."
Picked 542nd overall, Terry is a 6-2, 190-pound, crafty left-hander who rang up 11 wins against just one defeat. In 83 2/3 innings, he registered an impressive 1.51 ERA. He fanned 71 batters and walked 21.
Moore, a 6-foot-3, 212-pound right hander from McCordsville, Ind., worked 21.1 innings out of the Flame bullpen, posting a 1-3 record with 20 strikeouts and opposing batters hitting just .197 against him. He was the 842nd pick of the draft.
Under the direction of coach Brew, the Flames finished 51-12 this past season and shared the Southern States Athletic Conference tournament title with Faulkner University. In its final year of NAIA competition, the Flames were ranked No. 2 nationally, winning the opening round title of the National Tournament and placing third in their seventh straight NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho.