June 10, 2009
AUBURN, Ala. -
The Colorado Rockies drafted Auburn junior third baseman Joseph Sanders with their fifth round pick in the 2009 MLB First Year Player Draft while the Tampa Bay Rays selected junior right handed pitcher Scott Shuman in the 19th round on Wednesday. An All-SEC Second Team selection this season, Sanders was the 152nd pick overall while Shuman was pick No. 589.
Sanders, from Millbrook, hit .320 with a career-high 19 home runs and was an offensive catalyst the entire 2009 season, finishing the year with a team-best 55 RBI while also scoring 38 runs despite missing three weeks due to a broken jaw. His .737 slugging percentage for the year is the seventh-best mark in a single season at Auburn as he added 14 doubles and a triple to his team-leading home run total. In three seasons at Auburn, he tallied a .335 batting average with 47 doubles, a triple and 28 home runs, which is 12th in Auburn history. He also drove in 140 runs while being a very versatile infielder, making starts at third (88), first (25) and second (9) during his three-year career. Wednesday's selection was the first in Sanders' career.
"It's a huge relief. I was wondering where I would go and now it feels great to know where I will be going with the next step," Sanders said. "Colorado was actually one of my favorite teams when I did my workouts."
Sanders is the highest draft pick out of Auburn since Josh Donaldson was picked in the supplemental round by the Chicago Cubs in 2007.
Shuman, from Valdosta, Ga., was drafted for the second time in his career after being selected in the 23rd round of the 2006 draft by the Milwaukee Brewers before enrolling at Auburn. In three seasons he compiled a 7-3 mark with three saves and a 5.76 ERA in 41 appearances, striking out 59 in 75 innings.
"It's always exciting when you get a chance to play professional baseball," Shuman said. "I really like the Rays organization and I can't complain about going to an organization on the rise that is competing for World Series titles every year. Tampa Bay was the only team I wanted to go to because it is close to home."
Auburn has now had at least one player selected in the draft in each of the past 35 drafts, dating to the 1975 season. It is tied with Arkansas for the second-longest streak in the SEC behind Georgia's 37-year run.
Auburn also had a quartet of signees picked in the draft's first 30 round as Nick Franklin (1st Round - Seattle), Luke Bailey (4th Round - Tampa Bay), Drew Madrigal (11th Round - San Diego) and Garrett Bush (15th Round - Baltimore) were chosen.
The draft continues on Thursday at 10:30 am CT with rounds 31-50.