Reinhardt University baseball player Drew Tyson was selected by the Oakland Athletics in the 17th round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on Tuesday. Tyson, a 6-foot-5, 195-pound right-handed pitcher, just completed his junior season with the Eagles and became the first player drafted out of the Reinhardt program, which began in 2005.
"The Oakland scout (Matt Ranson) told me I could go anywhere after the 10th round, but I didn't know and I was expecting it would be later, like between the 30th and 50th rounds," an extremely excited Tyson said. "He comes here on Friday to meet with us and I guess that's when I'll sign my contract and everything.
"It's been crazy and a lot of fun. One of my aunts called me and said, ‘I guess dreams do come true.'"
Tyson, the 515th overall pick, was a member of the Eagles' pitching staff the last three years, making 46 appearances with 18 starts. He compiled a 12-6 career record with five saves, striking out 102 batters in 122 2/3 innings.
This past season, Tyson was 5-2 with one save in 16 games and ranked 46th nationally in the NAIA and third in the Appalachian Athletic Conference with 9.35 strikeouts per nine innings (54 strikeouts in 52 innings). In his final appearance of 2010, he pitched his only complete game at Reinhardt, striking out eight and walking two in a 5-1 AAC win over Union College (Ky.), which tied for the conference regular-season championship and received an at-large bid to the NAIA National Championship tournament. In his last two outings, Tyson allowed just one earned run over 13 innings with opponents batting only .200 (9-for-45) against him.
"All of the hard work that Drew put in over the last three years he's been in the program, and since coming off Tommy John surgery, has really paid off for him," Reinhardt athletic director/head baseball coach Bill Popp said. "He's a hard-working kid and this means a lot to the program because it's our first guy drafted, and it kind of gets us on the radar map as an NAIA school that's up-and-coming in baseball. Hopefully, we'll be able to use this to persuade some other fine student-athletes to come to Reinhardt.
"Obviously, it's just a big deal for the University itself to have the Reinhardt name out there and attached to something like the Major League Baseball draft."
One of the top NAIA players chosen in the draft, Tyson was the first player selected from an AAC institution.
The 20-year-old Tyson, from Woodstock, Ga., and a 2007 graduate of Etowah High School, is the son of Todd and Phyllis Tyson. After pitching for Etowah as a junior, he was injured in the summer of 2006 and had a ligament replacement surgical procedure done in his elbow, better known as Tommy John surgery. Tyson missed his entire senior season recovering from the operation.
Tyson said that after he signs, there is a good chance he could begin his professional career soon with the Vancouver Canadians, one of the A's minor league teams. The Canadians, who play out of Vancouver, British Columbia, are a Class A short-season affiliate of Oakland and compete as a member of the Northwest League.
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