June 10, 2013

Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina had two players selected during the 2013 Major League Baseball First-Year Player draft which concluded over the weekend. Junior outfielder Julian Ridings was taken by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 18th round while senior third baseman Tyler White was taken by the Houston Astros in the 33rd round, both coming on the final day of the draft.

Ridings and White were among 22 players from the Southern Conference drafted during the three-day, 40-round event which concluded Saturday. All told, 1,216 players were selected in the 2013 draft.

All told, Ridings was the 22nd pick of the 18th round - and the 548th player taken overall - while White was the first pick of the 33rd round and 977th pick overall. Both Ridings and White are the first-ever Catamounts to be drafted by their respective clubs, Tampa Bay and Houston. Ridings does join Eric Whitson who signed as a free agent following the 1996 draft and played in the Rays' farm system.

Ridings turned in a career year for the Purple & Gold, leading the squad with a .377 batting average with 16 doubles, four triples and 11 home runs. He finished the year a perfect 14-for-14 in stolen bases. Ridings was named first team All-Southern Conference in the outfield by both the league's head coaches and voting media.

Ridings was additionally named to the SoCon All-Tournament team after hitting .455 in three games at Fluor Field, finishing 5-for-11 with two doubles and a home run for a .909 slugging percentage

Scouts have Ridings profiled as a "top of the order hitter where he can take advantage of his speed and instincts on the base paths." Even with his improved power numbers over the past two seasons - doubling his number of doubles from eight to 16 and improving upon his home run totals from three to 11 from his sophomore to junior year - scouts have Ridings pegged as "more of a line-drive hitter with gap power as a professional."

Being taken in the 2013 MLB Draft put an exclamation point on a solid career and superb senior year for Tyler White. A first-team All-Southern Conference selection and the media's SoCon Player of the Year, White hit .363 in 2013 to rank tied for second on the squad while his .416 batting average in SoCon play led the team. He also paced the squad with 66 RBI and 16 home runs while his 27 doubles broke a 10-year old, single-season record.

White was additionally named to the SoCon All-Tournament team and was tabbed third team Louisville Slugger All-America, just the 12th different Catamount to earn the latter distinction all-time.

Over his four-year college career, White hit .325 and tallied 77 multi-hit games while posting multiple RBIs 42 times. The Forest City, N.C., native finished tied for fourth in career games played (228) and tied for third in career games started (220) for WCU, while his 882 career at bats were the third-most in program history. All told, White's 287 career base hits put him fourth in program history, ranking third with 64 career doubles.

Additional WCU Draft Notes:
* Western Carolina had a player selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft for the eighth-straight season - and for the 16th-time in the past 18-years missing just 2004 and 2005 during that same span;

* 2013 marked the second-straight season WCU has had someone taken in the 18th round Julian Ridings) as Ross Heffley was the 18th-round pick of the Atlanta Braves in the 2012 draft;

* Western Carolina has had three players taken inside the first 100 picks all time, headlined by Rick Adair with the 53rd pick of the third round by the Seattle Mariners in the 1979 draft - WCU's highest all-time ... Brad Tweedie (3rd round, 92nd pick by Cincinnati Reds in 1993) and Jason Beverlin (4th round, 93rd pick by Oakland Athletics in 1994).

2013 Western Carolina MLB Draft Picks

Round Pick Name School Pos. MLB Team
18 548 Julian Ridings Western Carolina OF Tampa Bay Rays
33 977 Tyler White Western Carolina 3B Houston Astros

2013 Southern Conference MLB Draft Picks

Round Pick Name School Pos. MLB Team
1 27 Phillip Ervin Samford OF Cincinnati Reds
5 160 Joe Jackson The Citadel C Texas Rangers
8 247 Nate Smith Furman RHP Los Angeles Angels
9 267 Jake Zokan College of Charleston LHP Seattle Mariners
10 290 C.K. Irby Samford RHP Minnesota Twins
17 511 Rob Marcello Appalachian State 1B Philadelphia Phillies
18 540 Ryan Kinsella Elon 1B Arizona Diamondbacks
18 548 Julian Ridings Western Carolina OF Tampa Bay Rays
19 576 Austin Pritcher The Citadel RHP Detroit Tigers
22 650 Alex Swim Elon C Minnesota Twins
22 660 Antonio Alvarez Elon SS Arizona Diamondbacks
24 734 Sam Agnew-Wieland Appalachian State RHP New York Yankees
30 907 Cambric Moye UNCG C Los Angeles Angels
31 937 Taylor Johnson Furman OF Los Angeles Angels
32 965 Kyle Webb Elon RHP St. Louis Cardinals
32 971 Dominique Vattuone UNCG RHP Oakland Athletics
33 977 Tyler White Western Carolina 3B Houston Astros
34 1,021 David Whitehead Elon RHP Philadelphia Phillies
34 1,034 Hector Crespo Appalachian State 2B New York Yankees
36 1,067 J.D. Osborne Wofford LHP Houston Astros
37 1,122 Will Callaway Appalachian State 2B San Francisco Giants
40 1,207 Ben Carlson Furman RHP Los Angeles Angels