Matthew Stevens Montgomery Advertiser
Published 2:56 p.m. UTC Jun 7, 2018
AUBURN – For the second straight year, the Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of the Alabama will be playing his home games at Plainsman Park.
Garrett Wade, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound senior left-handed pitcher from Hartselle High School, has confirmed his intention to delay professional baseball and attend Auburn for at least the next two years. After turning down what he said was “a couple significant offers” from professional franchises, Wade confirmed via a Wednesday evening phone interview with the Montgomery Advertiser that he’ll be honoring his signed National Letter-of-Intent with Auburn after being drafted in the 38th round by the Tampa Bay Rays.
“I’m definitely coming to Auburn,” Wade said. “It’s an honor to be drafted at all and I thank the Rays organization for allowing me to see my name come across but I had already decided that I was coming to Auburn.”
Wade was among four Auburn signees and six current roster players to be drafted on the final day of the 2018 MLB draft. Outfielder Kason Howell was drafted in the 20th round (No. 610 overall) by Boston, shortstop Devin Warner was taken in the 30th round (No. 909 overall) by Arizona, infielder Ryan Bliss was drafted in the 30th round (No. 910 overall) by Boston. All of those four are expected to honor their signed NLI documents with Auburn.
Auburn also had right-handed pitcher Davis Daniel, third baseman Brendan Venter, left-handed pitcher Andrew Mitchell, right-handed pitcher Calvin Coker, second baseman Luke Jarvis and catcher Brett Wright each heard their named called during the third day of this week’s Major League Baseball Draft.
Along with Auburn’s first ever No. 1 overall pick in Casey Mize, the seven Tigers taken in the draft are the most since having 11 players drafted in 2010 and are tied for the second most in program history.
Daniel was taken off the board in day three as he was selected by Milwaukee in the 11th round with the No. 335 overall pick. Venter was in the 13th round with the No. 382 overall pick by Atlanta. Mitchell was picked in the 14th round by the New York Mets with the No. 410 overall pick. Coker was selected in the 15th round with the No. 443 overall pick by the Oakland Athletics. Jarvis was selected in the 25th round by Miami with the No. 747 overall pick. Wright was the sixth and final Tigers taken in the draft as he was selected in the 26th round with the No. 776 overall pick by the Toronto Blue Jays.
Wade, who has been consistently sitting at 91-92 miles-per-hour with his fastball and a developing set of breaking pitches, produced a 7-2 record with a 1.02 ERA this past season while leading the Hartselle to the Class 6A state tournament. In just 54 2/3 innings Wade struck out 109 batters and allowed just 18 hits and 20 walks. Wade tossed a perfect game against Collierville (Tenn.) in April.
Wade also confirmed Wednesday that the 2017 Gatorade Alabama Player of the Year Tanner Burns called him this week in an effort to recruit a player listed on MLB.com’s Top 100 draft prospects to join him at Auburn.
Burns (7-4, 3.12 ERA) and has been a member of the Auburn starting rotation since opening weekend and the Decatur native was named the 2017 Collegiate Baseball National High School Player of the Year coming out of high school last year. Currently Burns ranks second on the team with 74 strikeouts, marking the second most by an Auburn freshman since 1998. In his last three starts, two of which have come in postseason play, Burns is 3-0 with a 2.37 ERA and has pitched 6.0 or more innings in each appearance.
“I’ve played against Tanner for years and him being from Decatur, he called me and wanted to know what my plan was,” Wade said. “To hear him say that guys on the Auburn team know my name and who I am already and that they want me badly would make anybody feel good. To hear stuff like that from future teammates makes me want to be at Auburn even more.”
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