GREENSBORO — Evan Edwards was home earlier than he’d hoped after N.C. State was eliminated from the NCAA baseball tournament.
But a phone call today salved the wound a little bit.
Edwards, a Wolfpack senior from Greensboro who starred at Southern Guilford, was selected by the Miami Marlins in the fourth round of Major League Baseball’s amateur draft, the 111th overall pick.
“I definitely expected to (be picked) today, but I wasn’t expecting to go this early,” Edwards said. “It’s awesome. It’s a dream come true, what I’ve worked for ever since I was little. To hear my name and get that call … It’s an unbelievable experience. I can’t really describe it. Guess I’m kind of speechless right now.”
Edwards started all 61 games in his final season at State (42-19), batting .330 with 14 home runs and a team-high 60 RBIs. In all, 33 of his 76 hits went for extra bases. He was also 7-for-8 in stolen-base attempts. He was the only Pack starter with more walks (51) than strikeouts (47) and led the team with a .455 on-base percentage.
In two seasons at State (he transferred after two junior college seasons at USC Lancaster), Edwards batted .315 with 29 HRs and 108 RBIs in 120 games.
“The numbers prove I’m a power guy,” Edwards said, “but I try to hit for average, too. I just want to put the ball in play, to have the best at-bat I can every time I’m up there.”
Edwards bats and throws left-handed, and he has become an above-average defensive first baseman. He made eight errors in two seasons at State, but none in 512 chances as a senior.
“He’s the best first baseman we’ve ever had here,” Southern Guilford athletics director Jeff Carter said. “Just a tremendously hard worker all four years. He’s always been an excellent offensive player, but his defense got better and better each year. I’ve read some scouting reports that say he’s too short (6 feet tall) to play first in the pros, but anyone who’s actually seen him play there knows that’s nonsense. He is just so smooth at everything he does.”
MLB sets the value of the 111th overall pick at $522,600, but there are variables in the so-called slot-value system that allow teams flexibility to spend more on some picks and less on others. And in this case, they work against Edwards, who turns 22 this month.
“I got the call with an offer, and I took it,” Edwards said. “I’m a senior, so I didn’t have much leverage on the (signing bonus). I took the first thing offered to me and I’m happy with the deal. I’m ready to go wherever they want me to go and play (at whatever level) they want me to play.”