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Mundy’s Mill’s Crawford is first area player picked in MLB draft

Photo by Derrick Mahone
“I just feel blessed,” former Mundy’s Mill third baseman Rashad Crawford said about being selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on Tuesday.

Photo by Derrick Mahone “I just feel blessed,” former Mundy’s Mill third baseman Rashad Crawford said about being selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on Tuesday.

Rashad Crawford wasn’t picky going into Major Legue Baseball’s First-Year Player Draft.

He didn’t have his heart set on a particular team, nor a plan set in place for his future determined by what round he was selected. The former Mundy’s Mill third baseman just wanted to get a pro baseball career started.

Crawford got what he was hoping for when the Chicago Cubs selected him with the 344th overall pick in the 11th round Tuesday.

“I just feel blessed,” Crawford said. “There’s a lot of kids who play baseball and don’t get an opportunity like this. I’m going to work hard and reach my ultimate goal.”

Crawford is coming off an impressive senior season in which he hit .507 with three home runs, scored 41 runs and had 22 stolen bases. He was named Region 4-AAAA Player of the Year and helped lead the Tigers to a 22-9 record, runner-up finish in the region and the second round of the state tournament.

Crawford is the first Mundy’s Mill player drafted since Miguel Starks was selected in 2008.

“It means a lot to our program,” Mundy’s Mill baseball coach Patrick Smith said. “It means we’re doing something right around here and try to develop kids. But, he was such a talented kid that it’s just about being disciplined.”

Crawford’s selection as the first Southern Crescent player drafted came as a surprise.

Luella outfielder and pitcher Vincent Jackson, who signed with Tennessee, was ranked the No. 174 prospect going into the draft and had hopes of getting picked between the second and fifth rounds. But, after the draft’s second day, he still hadn’t been selected. Jackson later said on Twitter, ‘Ima go to tennessee and help my team [get] back to the college world series.”

But Crawford began to draw interest from scouts after a summer spent participating in showcase events with his travel team, the Georgia Chains, out of Warner Robins.

When scouts started calling him, Crawford began to believe he was capable of playing professional baseball.

“It got to the point where I thought I really could do this,” said Crawford, who also started on Mundy’s Mill’s basketball team. “I just kept going at it, and here I am. I started working hard and listening to my coaches more.”

Crawford made no hesitation when asked whether he would sign with the Cubs or honor his commitment to Tallahassee Community College.

“Right now I think I’m going to sign and go to the minor leagues,” he said.

The details of what comes next is still a bit blurry for Crawford. He’ll begin negotiations on his signing bonus and contract in a few days and report to the Arizona Fall League in three to four weeks.

In the mean time, he has some catching up to do on the Cubs organization. Crawford’s knowledge of Chicago’s long-suffering team is limited to Sammy Sosa’s dramatic tenure and one current Cubs player, outfielder Alfonso Soriano, whose style of play Crawford admires.

And he’s getting prepared for what he knows will be a drastic step in the direction toward his dream.

“They say to play in the minor leagues takes a lot of hard work and dedication,” Crawford said. “You’ve got to be self-motivated. Got take constructive criticism. Got to take the negative and turn it into a positive.

“You’ve just got to be yourself and stay humble.”