GRANVILLE, W.Va. – Seven West Virginia Black Bears players were selected by Major League Baseball teams in the MLB Draft over the past few days.
That was good enough to count as the second-most players selected from any one MLB Draft League team in the inaugural year of the league.
For Black Bears manager, Jedd Gyorko, it’s the first time he’s gone the draft on this side of things. The first year the MLB Draft has come and went where he hasn’t been an active player.
Gyorko is now partially responsible for getting players ready for the next journey in their careers. It’s a responsibility that he doesn’t take lightly, nor is the goal of having his players advance.
“You know, wins and losses are great. Having kids buy in to a team, all that stuff is really cool. But getting these kids drafted and signed is most important,” said Gyorko over Zoom on Wednesday.
Pitcher Mitch Bratt was taken in the fifth round of the draft on Monday. Six others were picked by various MLB organizations after that.
“Bratt went in the fifth round, so that was cool. And I believe he’s already signed. And I know Hobbs went in the tenth round, and he’s already signed. It’s cool to see these guys be able to start their careers,” Gyorko added.
For the Morgantown native and his coaching staff, it means he’ll have some new faces joining his team soon enough. That trend could continue throughout the remainder of the season, because even though the draft is over, Major League clubs are always on the hunt for talented ballplayers to fill their minor league systems.
“There’s going to be a lot of teams that are still looking to fill in guys. And there’s a lot of guys that can still sign free agent deals. And that’s going to be the same thing. They’ve got to go out there, and they got to perform well,” added Gyorko, the former Mountaineer and second round draft pick. “There’s still going to be scouts watching them and trying to get guys to sign. So, these guys are still playing for the next level, and if not, they’re still guys that are going to be going back to college, that are looking just to kind of gain experience.”
One of those players, who will either be looking to sign a free agent deal or ponder heading back to college, is WVU catcher, Paul McIntosh.
McIntosh completed his senior year at WVU this spring, though retains one year of eligibility due to the NCAA’s COVID-19 eligibility rules for 2020-2021. He was drafted in the 34th round (1,021st overall) by the Los Angeles Angels in the 2018 MLB Draft.
McIntosh shows power at the plate, has a good build, and can play multiple positions.
“Everything you explained is why teams should be interested in him,” said Gyorko. “I tell him just to keep going. He’s performing every day now for us for 30 teams. There’s 30 teams out there that he can get signed with. (I) just tell him to keep doing what he does, because what he does is really good. He’s an awesome person. He can catch. He can play outfield. That’s attractive to every team. I would be shocked if there’s a team that doesn’t sign him really, really soon.”
The second half of the MLB Draft League season gets underway on Thursday. West Virginia currently owns the best record in the league (21-11-5).