Players selected on the final day of the major league baseball first-year draft rarely receive national attention, but the Washington Nationals turned some heads Saturday by picking Ryan Ripken (Gilman), son of former Orioles great Cal Ripken Jr.
The Nationals chose Ripken, a 6-foot-6, 230-pound first baseman out of Indian River State in Florida, in the 15th round (No. 454 overall). He batted .321 with one home run and 24 RBIs in 42 games as a freshman this year.
In 2012, Ripken was drafted in the 20th round by the organization for which his father spent the entirety of his 21-year major league career. Instead of signing, he accepted a scholarship to play at South Carolina, then transferred to Indian River after failing to make the Gamecocks roster as a freshman.
Ripken excelled at baseball and basketball at Gilman and was named a Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association All-Star in his senior season. This year at Indian River, he had a perfect fielding percentage in conference play to complement his success at the plate.
Ripken was not the only local player selected Saturday in the draft. Gavin Sheets, the son of Gilman coach and former Orioles outfielder Larry Sheets, was drafted in the 37th round by the Atlanta Braves. Sheets just finished his senior season at Gilman, batting .400 with five home runs and 36 RBIs for the Greyhounds. A first baseman and pitcher, he is set to attend Wake Forest.
He was the third son of a former Oriole to be drafted Saturday, joining Ripken and pitcher Brandon Bonilla; the son of Bobby Bonilla was selected in the 25th round by the Orioles.
The Orioles decided to keep some local talent close to home. With the 871st overall pick, they chose Patrick Baker, a pitcher out of Anne Arundel Community College. Baker, a 6-foot-3 righty, is from Fairfax, Va.
In the 34th round, the Orioles selected Garrett Pearson, a 6-foot-6 right-hander from St. John's in Washington. The senior's fastball has been clocked at 88mph by Baseball America.
The San Diego Padres selected pitcher Peter Solomon out of Mount St. Joseph with their 21st-round pick. The righty had a 2.04 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 442/3 innings as a senior this year and has previously committed to play college ball at Notre Dame.
Among other Maryland players, the Chicago White Sox selected left-hander Ben Brewster, who has a 2.74 ERA in 22 appearances and has helped Maryland to within a win of reaching the College World Series, in the 15th round. In the 21st round, the Chicago Cubs chose outfielder Charlie White, who is hitting .291 as a junior with the Terps.
The Cubs also added C. Milton Wright grad Brad Markey (19th round), while the Texas Rangers drafted righty Adam Parks, a St. Michaels alumnus, from Liberty (33rd round).