Angels select Yellow Jacket in draft

North Augusta's Whitley, South Aiken's Faulkner selected
North Augusta standout Jackson Whitley was selected by the Los Angeles Angels in the 13th round Tuesday.

Jackson Whitley didn't mind missing the first half of his graduating class' senior trip to Myrtle Beach, S.C., this week.

 

He had just returned from a weekend in sunny Southern California.

The recent North Augusta High School graduate worked out for the Los Angeles Angels last weekend, then returned home, skipping out on the beach trip so he could keep his eye on a computer screen as Day 2 of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft rolled through almost 900 picks.

"I had to wait," Whitley said. "My whole class went to the beach, but I couldn't get my mind off this today."

Whitley was the first area prospect chosen Tuesday when the Angels drafted him in the 13th round with the 405th overall pick.

He made the trip to the coast Tuesday evening knowing he has a chance at a professional baseball career in Anaheim after the Angels beat out other interested clubs, including the Atlanta Braves and Kansas City Royals.

"I'm going down (to the beach) as the happiest person alive," Whitley said. "I felt comfortable (with the Angels). The stadium, the facilities, the coaches were all awesome."

South Aiken High School graduate Andrew Faulkner was already seaside with his classmates when the Texas Rangers made him the 444th overall pick. The left-handed pitcher went in the 14th round.

Whitley is a left-handed first baseman who was set to play at Clemson next spring, while Faulkner had committed to play at South Carolina.

The two prospects will have until mid-August to decide whether to sign professional contracts and start minor league careers or keep their amateur status and play college ball.

'Both options are still totally open," Whitley said. "I'm going to have to sit down and talk about it with my family."

The Angels' closest minor league affiliate is the Double-A Arkansas Travelers in Little Rock.

The Rangers' two Single-A affiliates are the South Atlantic League's Hickory (N.C.) Crawdads and the Carolina League's Myrtle Beach Pelicans.

The final day of this year's draft begins at noon today with the 31st round.


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