The pros have had their way with Mark Brew's Lee University pitching staff, selecting five in the three-day Major League Baseball draft.
"I think all of them will sign. That's what my gut tells me," Brew said Saturday evening.
The Flames, whose Myles Smith and Jose Samayoa were taken Friday, had Andy Hillis, Clint Terry and Alex Moore selected Saturday, the draft's final day.
After Smith went in the fourth round to Boston and Samayoa in the ninth round to Texas, Hillis, Lee's 6-foot-8, 240-pound closer with a 98-mph fastball, was among the first players selected Saturday, going to Milwaukee in the 11th round. Terry and Moore also went to the Brewers, left-hander Terry in the 18th round and right-hander Moore in the 28th.
Three players with Chattanooga-area high school ties also were selected Saturday.
Left-handed pitcher Chase Brookshire, a four-year starter at both Belmont University and McCallie, went to St. Louis in round 20.
Brandon Zajac, a left-handed pitcher who signed with Tennessee out of Walker Valley and then transferred to Cleveland State, was taken in the 23rd round by the San Francisco Giants.
Right-handed pitcher Dakota Hudson, who just finished his senior season at Sequatchie County, was selected in the 36th round by Texas. Hudson, whose stock appeared to rise during the spring because of a low-90s fastball and a coming curveball, has the option of spurning the Rangers' offer thanks to a scholarship that's awaiting him at Mississippi State.
Likewise, Zajac could return to college but seems ready to take the pro plunge. He was a 30th-round selection by Pittsburgh in 2011.
Brookshire was a senior and out of options but said early last week that he was simply hoping for an opportunity.
Tennessee Wesleyan had two players selected -- center fielder Michael Carballo in the 18th round by the Chicago White Sox and first baseman Jake Stone in the 27th by Washington. Carballo was a junior this season, Stone a senior.
Lee continues to build a reputation for getting players drafted, and Smith's selection in the fourth round represented the team's highest round for a player selection. Five pitchers drafted in the same year was another first.
"I think it speaks volumes for Michael Moody, our pitching coach, and Justin Dedmon, our recruiting coordinator," said Brew, who was the Flames' pitching coach before taking over as head coach. "Justin is responsible for bringing in a lot of these guys for Michael to work with, and Michael is directly involved with these pitchers' improvement. You want to hire guys better than you, and he's the best pitching coach I know."
Smith was a 16th-round pick last year, Terry was taken in the 36th and Hillis in the 29th. Neither Moore nor Samayoa had been drafted.
"Obviously you're dealing with talented players, but this draft speaks volumes about this staff and Michael's ability to develop pitchers," Brew said.
He said he expects a couple of more Flames to be offered free-agent contracts in the next couple of weeks.
Danny Canela, a left-handed-hitting catcher, wound up batting .335 for the Flames and Brew said he was a quality defensive player. The coach also mentioned outfielder Corey Davis, who had 32 extra-base hits including nine home runs and stole 26 bases.
Tullahoma pitcher Jordan Sheffield, who competed against several Chattanooga teams this year, was selected in the 13th round by the Boston Red Sox. He is the nephew of former Braves slugger Gary Sheffield.
Contact Ward Gossett at email@example.com or 423-886-4765.
Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...