The scouting attention grew for USC Aiken infielder Ryan Metzler as his junior year progressed, and it culminated in another high draft pick for the Pacers program.
Metzler was selected as the ninth pick in the ninth round by the Toronto Blue Jays during the second day of the Major League first-year player draft on Friday. He was picked 264th overall.
Metzler hit .365 with four home runs, 42 RBI and 16 stolen bases in 53 games for the Pacers. He’s capable of playing both middle infield positions and was drafted as a second baseman.
The 6-foot-3, 21-year-old from Glen Burnie, Md., combined to hit .361 with 11 home runs and 23 stolen bases between two seasons with the Pacers. He transferred from Siena, where he played his freshman year.
USC Aiken coach Kenny Thomas said Metzler is a tireless worker who is first to the ballpark each day, even on off days.
“What I like most is, this is a guy that works his absolute tail off,” Thomas said. “Sometimes you see guys who are successful but don’t really work as hard. It doesn’t matter how good he was yesterday, he’s always the first person at the field. He’s always putting in extra work.”
Thomas said scouts began the season focusing on Metzler’s teammates as potential draft prospects. As the season progressed, they began to notice Metzler’s talent level at second base and at the plate.
The infielder shows projection from a lengthy body with room to add muscle. He flashes a combination of speed and some power that draws a scout’s attention.
“Toward the end of the year, more teams liked Ryan; they showed more interest,” Thomas said. “I can’t say I’m surprised. We’re very proud of him. He’s such a hard worker.”
USC Aiken left-handed reliever Caleb Smith was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 17th round.
Fellow Pacer left-hander Danny Wissmann was picked in the 22nd round by the San Diego Padres.
A third USC Aiken left-hander, Derek Beasley, who attended Harlem, went to the Oakland Athletics in the 30th round. Georgia Southern right-hander Josh Wirsu, who also went to Harlem, was drafted three picks later by the St. Louis Cardinals.
BABY BRAVES: A recent home series for the Augusta GreenJackets brought the Rome Braves to town for the first time this season. It gave fans a chance to see what the future holds for the Braves from Class-A.
Rome’s two standout players, catcher Victor Caratini and outfielder Victor Reyes, flashed the potential to be prospects down the road.
Caratini’s bat is his calling card, and it showed pretty well in the three-game set. He has a knack for putting the barrel to the ball, and his line-drive approach helps him spray the ball around the field with authority. He has a chance to hit for a high batting average in the upper levels.
Reyes is a projectable teenager with long limbs and good hitting ability. He barrels the ball well and sprays it around the field, showing potential to hit for average. He has room to add muscle and develop some power.