Auburn, Ala. –It was a big day for a pair of Auburn baseball standouts as senior pitcher Derek Varnadore and junior outfielder outfielder Ryan Tella were drafted during the second day of the 2012 Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft.
Drafted in the 17th round by the Florida Marlins following the 2011 season, Varnadore returned to Auburn for his senior year and the decision paid off in a big way. Drafted in the ninth round by the New York Yankees with the 307th pick, Varnadore was the first Auburn selection this year.
A senior who spent two years at Auburn, Varnadore was 4-7 with a 4.93 ERA in 19 appearances in 2012, making 11 starts. In a team-high 87 2/3 innings, the right-hander led the team in strike outs (63) while holding opponents to a .272 batting average. His best work came after moving to the bullpen late in the year and that could be his future in professional baseball.
Tella was drafted in the 11th round by the San Francisco Giants, pick No. 358 overall, during the second day of the draft on Tuesday. It was the second consecutive year that the speedy outfielder has been drafted. Coming out of Ohlone Junior College in California, Tella was a 34th-round pick of the Minnesota Twins in the 2011 MLB Draft.
A draft-eligible sophomore, Tella was named Second Team All-SEC this season after leading Auburn and finishing fourth in the SEC at the end of the regular season with a .360 batting average. He also ranked among the conference leaders in slugging percentage (.508, 11th), on base percentage (.448, sixth), hits (85, fourth), triples (four, tied-fifth), total bases (120, seventh), walks (35, tied-eighth) and stolen bases (18, tied-third).
Auburn has now had at least one player selected in the MLB Draft in each of the past 38 drafts, dating to the 1975 season. It is tied with Arkansas for the second-longest streak in the SEC behind Georgia’s 39-year run.
In addition to Varnadore and Tella, Auburn has had three signees drafted as well. Outfielder David Dahl was the 10th overall selection by the Colorado Rockies with shortstop Addison Russell going with the next pick to the Oakland Athletics.
On Tuesday left-handed pitcher Colin Rodgers from Parkview Baptist School in Louisiana was taken with the 100th pick in the third round by the Kansas City Royals.
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