Draft Day Exciting For Baseball Tigers

Auburn, Ala.--While it wasn't a surprise to see the name <b>Jonathan Schuerholz</b> called as a pick of the Atlanta Braves in Tuesday's Amateur Baseball Draft, it was a shocker when it came in the eighth round.

The son of Braves General Manager John Schuerholz, he was selected by the Braves originally out of high school in the 37th round but decided to attend Auburn and improve his draft status. That turned out to be a good move for Schuerholz.

"I knew they were after me but I didn't think they would go this high," Schuerholz told Inside The Auburn Tigers just after his name had been called. "I'm pretty pumped right now."

Expected to get his start in rookie ball for Danville in the Appalachian League, Schuerholz says that the Braves organization tells him he will move back to his natural position of shortstop to begin his professional career.

While Schuerholz was the surprise of the day, he wasn't the only happy camper from the Auburn baseball team as both Trent Pratt and Mike Mueller got the call they had been waiting for their entire lives.

Trent Pratt

Pratt, a senior catcher, was drafted in the 34th round last year by the Arizona Diamondbacks, but just like Schuerholz he decided to give college baseball one more try. That proved to be a wise decision as a solid senior year behind the plate both receiving and throwing out baserunners moved Pratt into the 12th round as a selection of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Mueller is the product of good fortune. Brought to the Plains as a hitter by Coach Steve Renfroe and staff before the season from Madison Area Technical College where he was named a second-team junior college All-American after hitting .400 with 10 triples and 18 home runs, Mueller struggled to find his eye at the plate and was sent to the bullpen to see if he could help the team in that capacity. The change of position was a successful as he led the team with a 3.25 ERA. The big right-hander impressed the scouts with his velocity and potential.

Mike Mueller

This isn't the first time Mueller has been drafted though as he was a 22nd round selection of the Phillies in the 2000 MLB Draft and a 21st round pick of the San Diego Padres a year before.

The draft news doesn't end there as two signees for the Class of 2002 were also picked in Tuesday's draft. Outfielder Clete Thomas and catcher Josh Bell were both picked in the fifth round, Thomas by the Minnesota Twins and Bell by the St. Louis Cardinals. Both players have until the first day of fall classes to decide their fate, something that will have the Auburn coaching staff on pins and needles until August.

Several other players with Auburn ties still await their fate, including current catcher/designated hitter Bobby Huddleston. Following a strong junior season Huddleston was expected to go in the middle rounds but is still waiting after day one. Having already received his degree from Auburn, Huddleston has a little less bargaining power than a normal junior and that is the likely reason why he is still on the board.

Several signees also wait to hear word as pitchers Daniel Forrer, Chris Dennis and Grant Cardwell are all possible selections, but it is unlikely any will receive enough money to sign instead of attending Auburn this fall.

You can follow all of day two of the Major League Draft as well as get a complete rundown of day one by going to mlb.com.

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