The San Diego Padres took Severna Park senior Jackson Merrill with the No. 27 overall pick in the MLB draft Sunday night.
Merrill, the 6-foot-3, 195-pound shortstop who is committed to University of Kentucky, saw his professional stock risen considerably this spring after batting .500 with a 12 home runs, 37 RBIs and 32 runs scored for the Class 4A state finalist Falcons.
“I think I’m ready to make the leap to professional baseball,” Merrill told The Capital before the draft. “It depends where I am drafted and it depends on the organization and their plans for me. Kentucky is also a great option. At age 15 or 16, I really fell in love with the game, and I want to play it as long as I can.”
Merrill, who was recently chosen as Capital Gazette baseball Player of the Year, played at Severna Park under coach Eric Milton, a former major league pitcher. MLB.com ranked Merrill the 79th best prospect in the draft.
“Scouts like the way Merrill moves as a shortstop, with good actions and hands, with enough arm to give him the chance to at least start out at the premium position,” MLB.com wrote.