State, Duke, Wake, UNC make MLB Draft history with 1st round selections

For the first time since the Major League Baseball draft came into existance in 1965, NC State, Duke, Wake Forest and UNC all had a player taken in the first round in the same year

Duke pitcher Bryce Jarvis is 12-4 with a 2.81 ERA during his three years with the Blue Devils, striking out 201 batters in 150 1/3 innings. (Wade Payne / AP Photo)

There hasn’t been a game played in nearly three months, but it was still a big night for baseball in North Carolina on Wednesday.

Players from NC State, Duke, Wake Forest and North Carolina were all selected in the first round of the Major League Baseball Draft, the first time since the draft began in 1965 that players from all four schools went in the opening round.

NC State catcher Patrick Bailey got the ball rolling when he was taken by the San Francisco Giants with the 13th overall pick. 

The switch-hitting Greensboro native, who is known for both his defensive ability behind the plate and a power bat that led the Wolfpack in home runs during the shortened 2020 season, was also the first catcher to come off the board.

Five picks later, Duke’s Bryce Jarvis became the newest member of the Arizona Diamondbacks organization.

The right-handed pitcher was taken in the 37th round by the New York Yankees last year, but elected to return to school for one more season. It turned out to be a good decision, despite having that season shortened by the coronavirus pandemic.

Jarvis allowed only two earned runs while striking out 40 batters and walking only two in his four starts while bursting into the national spotlight by throwing the first perfect game in Blue Devils history.

While Jarvis opened eyes this spring, it was Jared Shuster’s performance in the Cape Cod League last summer that helped catapult him into the first round.

The Wake Forest left-hander parlayed a strong performance in New England and a changeup that is considered the best among this year’s draft-eligible pitchers into selection by the Atlanta Braves with the 25th pick.

The Minnesota Twins then completed the set of state ACC draft picks by taking North Carolina first baseman Aaron Sabato at No. 27.

Sabato hit 25 home runs in his abbreviated career with the Tar Heels and should fit right in with a Twins organization. The team led the majors with a record 307 home runs in 2019.

It is not known when or if any of the new draft picks will be able to begin their professional careers because of the virus-related shutdown that threatens to wipe out the entire minor league season.

The draft will continue with rounds 2-5 on Thursday.