Feb. 7, 2013
Junior outfielder Ryan Tella was named the No. 15 Top Prospect out of the Southeastern Conference for the 2013 MLB Draft by Baseball America, the publication released on Thursday morning. Freshman outfielder Sam Gilliken was also ranked the seventh-best newcomer as the publication released its Southeastern Conference preview in as part of its college preview anticipation of next week's Opening Day.
Tella, from Fremont, Calif., hit a team-best .360 last in 2012, leading the team in hits (85). He also collected 12 doubles, four triples and five home runs for a .508 slugging percentage. Already a Preseason All-America by College Sports Madeness, he was a Second Team All-SEC selection last year as Auburn's everyday centerfielder. An 11th-round pick of the San Francisco Giants in last year's draft he decided to return to Auburn for his junior year, where he finished ranked among the SEC leaders in batting average (fourth), slugging percentage (ninth), on base percentage (.448, seventh), hits (sixth), triples (tied for fifth), total bases (120, 11th), walks (35, tied for 10th) and stolen bases (17, fourth).
Gillikin is a 6-foot, 2-inch freshman from Hoover. A left-handed hitting outfielder, he was a 33rd-round draft pick of the Atlanta Braves in 2012 but chose Auburn over professional baseball. Ranked the 105th high school prospect by Perfect Game and the 169th draft prospect by Baseball America coming out of his high school career, he hit .453 with 16 doubles, six home runs and 36 RBI as a senior, stealing 25 bases. Baseball America recognized him as a 2012 Second Team All-America following his Hoover career.
Auburn was picked to finish sixth in the SEC West in the preview and is one of 10 SEC teams to be predicted in the magazine's Field of 64, joining Perfect Game in predicting a NCAA Regional berth for John Pawlowski's club.
Auburn opens the season on Friday, Feb. 15 at 3pm against Maine at Plainsman Park.
To read Baseball America's complete SEC preview, click here.
Follow Auburn Baseball on twitter at twitter.com/AUTigerBaseball.