Senior Alabama center fielder Emeel Salem (Mountain Brook) got an early call as he was the first player taken on the second day of the draft. Salem was the first pick of the sixth round (185th overall pick) by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Salem was a 10th round pick last year by the Baltimore Orioles, but opted to return for his senior season with the Crimson Tide. After leading team in hitting for the second year in a row and racking up more academic honors, including the 2007 H. Boyd McWhorter SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year award, that decision paid off for Salem today.
"This just makes my decision to come back my senior year that much better," Salem said. "I had a great time and career at Alabama. This is very exciting to me and I am ready to go play baseball. Tampa Bay is a great organization and a great fit for me and the type of player that I am."
He said his professional career would likely begin in the short-season New York-Penn League or the Class A South Atlantic League.
Senior shortstop Greg Paiml (Hoover) was taken in the 15th round (479th overall pick) by the Chicago White Sox.
"This is very exciting. I was taken a lot earlier than I was expecting. I had been talking with the White Sox quite a bit, so that was not a surprise. I was expecting to go in the 30th round, so this is a nice surprise."
Paiml said he got the news off the internet right before lunch.
"I was headed out to lunch and checked the internet to get an update on the draft and saw my name in the 15th round," he said. "Then my phone starting ringing. I had so many calls from family and friends, it took the White Sox about 15-20 minutes to get in touch with me."
Sophomore shortstop Cale Iorg (Knoxville), who earned Freshman All-SEC honors for the Crimson Tide in 2005, was taken in the sixth round (211th overall pick) by the Detroit Tigers. Iorg was taken despite serving a mission the last two years in Lisbon, Portugal for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Iorg, who hit .280 with five home runs and 15 stolen bases at Alabama as a freshman, has earned assistant to the president status on his current mission and is not scheduled to return to the United States until July 14.
Alabama also had five signees taken during the second day of the MLB Draft. That list includes catcher Chase Weems (6th, New York Yankees), pitcher Danny Danielson (7th round, Los Angeles Dodgers), pitcher Austin Bailey (15th round, Boston Red Sox), pitcher Connor Hohen (21st round, Milwaukee Brewers) and infielder Ross Wilson (35th round, San Diego Padres).