Tuesday was a lot longer day than expected for recently-graduated Center Hill catcher Cordell Dunn, expected to be DeSoto County’s top choice in this week’s Major League Baseball entry draft.
Believed to be a possible third-or-fourth round pick on Tuesday, Dunn, a standout catcher for the Mustangs, did not hear his name announced during the course of a draft party held at Center Hill on Tuesday.
But both Dunn and Olive Branch senior outfielder Myles Christian finally got to hear their names called Wednesday on the third day of the draft.
Both hoping to become the latest pro baseball prospects from DeSoto County, Christian was picked in the 18th round by the Seattle Mariners, the 543rd overall selection. Dunn was picked up one round later in the 19th round by the Toronto Blue Jays, selection number 579.
Both may likely not take the professional route immediately, however, opting to continue their current road of playing college baseball before entering the pro ranks.
Dunn has signed to play at Texas Tech next season, while Christian has signed to play at Middle Tennessee State.
“If I sign, of course I won’t be going to Texas Tech, but I could still go to Lubbock,” Dunn said. “It’s a great atmosphere there, so after these few days, I’m kind of in a win-win situation. If I don’t sign, I still have Texas Tech, an amazing school.”
As part of the process, players such as Dunn heard from several major league teams looking to learn more about what the prospects could provide.
“I met with general managers and assistant general managers and had conversations with them,” Dunn said. “They love me, said I had a great personality and was easy to get along with. They love the tools I bring, stuff like that.”
The most notable DeSoto County baseball prospect who has made the most impact in pro baseball of late has been ex-DeSoto Central standout Austin Riley, who chose the pro route in the 2015 draft instead of college.
Today, Riley has moved up from rookie ball to play advanced “A” baseball with the Florida Fire Frogs of the Florida State League. Riley is property of the Atlanta Braves organization that drafted him out of high school.
“Playing high school ball and summer ball, Austin Riley was definitely one of the guys I thought I needed to be like,” Dunn said. “Not many guys come out of this area, so that’s also put a chip on my shoulder and let me know that when I do go out, I need to really perform and be just a little bit better.”
At least two other former DeSoto County players were selected on Wednesday and both were from DeSoto Central. Pitcher Drew Crosby of Memphis was chosen in the 26th round by the Detroit Tigers and Kyle Watson of Ole Miss had been taken in the 37th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Bob Bakken is Sports Editor and may be reached at 662-429-6397 ext. 240.