During draft preparation, N.C. State catcher Brett Austin said every team he interviewed asked him about star pitcher Carlos Rodon.
Turns out, the Chicago White Sox liked them both. A day after taking Rodon in the first round, Chicago took Austin in the fourth round of Friday’s Major League Baseball draft.
Austin was one of three Triangle college players taken on the second day of the draft on Friday, joined by Duke pitcher Drew Van Orden (Washington Nationals) and North Carolina shortstop Michael Russell (Tampa Bay Rays), who were both taken in the fifth round. Fuquay-Varina prep standout D.J. Burt (Kansas City Royals) also went in the fourth round with Austin.
Austin, a switch-hitting catcher who led N.C. State with a .344 batting average this season, said he got a call early on Friday from the White Sox.
“They said they wanted to keep me and Carlos together,” Austin said. “I thought they were kidding. It’s funny how it worked out.”
Austin, who was Rodon’s roommate for three years at N.C. State, said he texted Rodon shortly after the Sox made the pick, No. 108 overall, official.
“You can’t get rid of me,” Austin texted Rodon.
Van Orden, the 154th overall pick, went to the Washington Nationals after going 6-5 with a team-best 91 strikeouts for the Blue Devils this season.
The Rays took Russell three picks later in the fifth round. Russell led the Tar Heels with a .339 average and 32 RBI. He gutted through the final games of his junior season with a back injury.
Burt was taken 123rd overall by the Royals in the fourth round. Burt played shortstop for the Bengals in his three years as a starter, but could play multiple positions in the pros. Burt has signed with Chipola Junior College in Florida and was expected to sign with a MLB team, if taken high enough.
Green Hope High product Max Povse, who is from Cary, was taken in the third round (102nd overall) by the Braves. Povse, a 6-foot-8 hard-throwing right-handed pitcher, went 6-4 for UNC Greensboro this season and led the Spartans with 81 strikeouts.
Ryan Williams was the second ECU pitcher to get picked in the draft. The Cubs took the right-hander in the 10th round. Teammate Jeff Hoffman was the No. 9 overall pick on Thursday night by the Toronto Blue Jays.
The draft concludes on Saturday with 30 more rounds.
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