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Five Vols selected in MLB Draft’s first 10 rounds

Several BaseVols heading to the major league, plus news on Blade Tidwell and signee pitcher Chase Burns

Syndication: The Knoxville News-Sentinel Saul Young/News Sentinel via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Tennessee baseball set a record with five players drafted in the first ten rounds of the MLB Draft.

Chad Dallas, Liam Spence, Max Ferguson, Connor Pavolony and Jake Rucker were all drafted today.

Dallas went to the Blue Jays in the fourth round at 121; Spence is going to the North side of Chicago drafted by the Cubs at 154; Ferguson followed Spence just six spots later at 160 to the Padres; then somewhat surprisingly, Connor Pavolony went at 197 to the Orioles while Jake Rucker, Tennessee’s leader in hits and doubles, was selected by the Minnesota Twins at pick 219. Most lists I looked at had Rucker rated as around the 125-150th best player in the draft, while Pavolony typically ranked down in the 200s.

MLB held the first round of the draft Sunday evening, and Tennessee signee and infielder Brady House went no. 11 overall to the Washington Nationals. It’s pretty unlikely House makes it to Tennessee, and here’s some context as to why: the MLB assigns dollar values to each draft spot in the first 10 rounds of the draft determining how much bonus money teams are allowed to spend on the relative pick. The money allotted to House’s slot is around $4.5 million.

House doesn’t court toward Tennessee’s total here, but still, the five picks in the first 10 rounds broke the record of four Vols set three times in 2001, 2005 and 2019.

House was one of three members of Tennessee’s 2021 recruiting class to be drafted, and all of them were infielders. Shortstop Ryan Spikes went to the Rays in the 3rd round while second baseman Dayton Dooney was drafted by the Royals in the 6th round. House and Spikes are incoming freshmen while Dooney is a JUCO transfer. They have until August 1st to sign with the teams that drafted them.

House and Spikes are both 5-star signees according to 14powers dot com.

Who knows what it does or doesn’t mean, but Spikes tweeted this out around 2 PM this afternoon:

Some other baseball happenings worth note:

First, Blade Tidwell was named a Freshman All-American today by D1 Baseball. Tidwell went 10-3 with a 3.74 ERA while recording 90 Ks and 34 walks as Tennessee’s Sunday starter. Sky seems to be the limit for Mr. Tidwell’s future.

Next, Tennessee signee Chase Burns announced he’s going to follow through on his signing to Tennessee instead of pursuing the majors, at least for now. Burns is pretty universally regarded as a top-100 MLB prospect but was not selected in the first 10 rounds of the draft.

Burns’ brings considerable swing-and-miss potential as a pitcher, something the Vols (mostly due to injuries to Jackson Leath and Ben Joyce) lacked last season outside of Dallas and Tidwell.

His fastball sits in the upper 90s, though he’s had some issues controlling it at times. Just a guess here, but I’d say those issues locating that fastball are what kept him from being drafted as early as he would have liked. Burns features a slider, curve and changeup as secondary pitches with the change being the best and the breaking pitches needing some tinkering. Once he attends school with the Vols, he can’t enter the draft again until either a) his junior or senior season or b) he’s at least 21 years old.