GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) – Led by the first-round selections of Virginia Tech outfielder Gavin Cross and Georgia Tech catcher Kevin Parada, seven Atlantic Coast Conference players heard their names called as the 2022 Major League Baseball Draft opened Sunday night in Los Angeles.
Cross became the first ACC player taken and the highest selection in Virginia Tech school history when the Kansas City Royals made him the No. 9 overall selection.
Parada went two picks later to the New York Mets at No. 11 overall. Parada became the 12th Yellow Jacket drafted in the opening round and the ninth under the watch of current head coach Danny Hall.
This marks the 31st consecutive year that at least one ACC player has been selected in the opening round of the MLB Draft and the seventh straight year that the ACC has placed at least one draftee among the top 15 picks.
Louisville catcher Dalton Rushing went to the Los Angeles Dodgers as the first pick of the second round and the 40th selection overall. Two picks later, the Baltimore Orioles grabbed Clemson third baseman Max Wagner at 42nd overall.
The Cleveland Guardians chose Florida State left-handed pitcher Parker Messick in the second round with the 54th selection.
The second Virginia Tech selection of the night went No. 68 overall in the competitive balance phase of round two as the Minnesota Twins chose shortstop Tanner Schobel. Tampa Bay took Georgia Tech shortstop Chandler Simpson two picks later at No. 70 overall.
Virginia Tech’s Cross performed at his best when facing top competition in 2022, hitting 12 of his 17 home runs against Power Five opposition. The All-ACC First Team outfielder ranked among the top 25 NCAA Division I players in runs per game (70 runs, 1.23 per game), pairing his .328 batting average with 14 doubles, eight triples (tied for the second most nationally), his 12-for-12 mark in stolen bases and his .660 slugging percentage.
Cross joins Franklin Stubbs (1982), Brad DuVall (1987, 1988), Denny Wagner (1997) and Joe Saunders (2002) as Virginia Tech first-round draftees.
Cross was named First-Team All-America by Perfect Game and also made his way onto the ABCA/Rawlings All-Region Second Team and the VaSID All-State First Team. He was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2022 NCAA Blacksburg Regional.
A 2022 unanimous All-American, Georgia Tech’s Parada concluded an excellent sophomore season in which he was named first-team All-ACC, All-Region and NCBWA District 4 Player of the Year, in addition to claiming both the Buster Posey and Johnny Bench Awards as the nation’s top catcher, Parada was a finalist for Golden Spikes Award and Dick Howser Trophy. He also earned three National Player of the Week honors.
The Pasadena, California, native ranked among the nation’s best all year, finishing the regular season ranking sixth with a school-record 26 home runs, second in total bases (174), third in RBI (85), fifth in runs (74) and 35th in hits (85).
Parada started all 60 of Georgia Tech’s games this season. That included 55 starts behind the plate, where he posted a .992 fielding percentage and threw out 12 runners on attempted steals.
A fixture in the middle of Louisville’s lineup, Rushing hit .310 with a team-high 23 home runs and drove in 62 runs this past spring. Rushing was the first UofL player to hit 20 home runs since 2017 and finished the year with the fourth-most homers in a season by a Louisville player.
Rushing ranked among the nation’s top 30 nationally in home runs, walks and hit-by-pitch, and top 50 in slugging percentage and runs scored. The Brighton, Tennessee, native earned All-America honors from Collegiate Baseball, Perfect Game and ABCA.
The 2022 ACC Player of the Year and a first-team All-American, Clemson’s Wagner led the 2022 Tigers in batting average (.369), runs (66), hits (75), doubles (15), homers (27), RBIs (76), total bases (173), slugging percentage (.852), walks (45) and on-base percentage (.496). He is tied for third in the nation in home runs, eighth in RBIs and second in slugging percentage. His 27 homers tied the school season record and are tied for third-most in a season in ACC history as well.
Wagner hit a home run every 7.5 at-bats in 2022, easily setting a school record, and his .852 slugging percentage was the second highest in a season in school history. He also reached base via a hit, walk or hit-by-pitch in each of the season’s final 42 games.
After being named both ACC Pitcher and Freshman of the Year in 2021, Florida State’s Messick struck out 144 batters this season while issuing just 18 walks in 98.2 innings pitched. A finalist for the Dick Howser and Golden Spikes Awards, Messick led the ACC in strikeouts and was just the second FSU pitcher in the past decade with consecutive 100-strikeout seasons.
Messick was voted the ACC Pitcher of the Week four times in 2022 and also earned a National Pitcher of the Week honor from the NCBWA. For his career, Messick is 16-8 with a 3.10 earned run average.
Virginia Tech’s Schobel racked up 74 RBI from the third spot in Tech’s batting order, pacing the Hokies in both home runs (19) and slugging percentage (.689). Among his 85 hits, the five-foot-10 middle infielder yielded 18 doubles while defensively playing a role in all but six of the team’s 42 double plays.
Schobel was tabbed one of six national finalists for the 2022 Brooks Wallace Award (presented annually to the nation’s best collegiate shortstop), was named a national semifinalist for both the Golden Spikes Award and the Dick Howser Trophy, collected All-ACC First Team honors and garnered distinction on the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper All-America Third Team.
The nation’s batting average leader, Georgia Tech’s Simpson hit a blistering .433 to become the first Yellow Jacket to hit .400 since Mark Teixeira in 2000 and finished just a thousandth of a percentage point shy of tying Jay Payton’s school record of .434 (min. 200 at-bats) set in 1994. Simpson also led the country in hits per game at 1.87 per contest.
Simpson stole a team-best 27 bases on the year (good for third in the ACC), was the toughest hitter to strike out in the ACC at 12.7 at-bats per strikeout and led the league with a .506 on-base percentage (ninth nationally). He scored 1.36 runs per game to rank third nationally.
The 2022 MLB Draft continues Monday afternoon with rounds three through 10 and concludes Tuesday with rounds 11 through 20.
2022 MLB Draft Picks from the ACC
1/9 — Gavin Cross, Virginia Tech, OF, Kansas City Royals
1/11 — Kevin Parada, Georgia Tech, C, New York Mets
2/40 – Dalton Rushing, Louisville, C, Los Angeles Dodgers
2/42 – Max Wagner, Clemson, 3B, Baltimore Orioles
2/54 – Parker Messick, Florida State, LHP, Cleveland Guardians
CB2/68 – Tanner Schobel, Virginia Tech, SS, Minnesota Twins
CB2/70 – Chandler Simpson, Georgia Tech, SS, Tampa Bay Rays