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Four Flames Selected in MLB Draft
The 2013 Big South Champion Liberty Flames baseball program had four players selected during the final day of the 2013 Major League Baseball Draft, Saturday. Outfielder Ryan Cordell, pitcher Danny Grauer, pitcher Josh Richardson and catcher Trey Wimmer were chosen this afternoon.
The Texas Rangers selected Cordell in the 11th round, while the Chicago White Sox took Wimmer in the 23rd round, the San Diego Padres chose Richardson in the 26th round and the Cincinnati Reds picked Danny Grauer in the 38th round. With the selection of four Flames today, Liberty has had 53 players selected in the MLB Draft during the 40-year history of its program and has had a player chosen in each draft since 2000.
The Flames have had three or more players chosen in each of the last three MLB Drafts. In 2011, seven Liberty players were selected, setting a Big South Conference and program record.
After securing their first automatic bid to an NCAA Regional since 2000 with their Big South title, the Flames reached a regional final for the first time in program history. In the Columbia, S.C. Regional, Liberty defeated Clemson twice to face regional host South Carolina in the regional final. The Flames finished the year with a 36-29 record. It is the fifth time in six years under head coach Jim Toman that Liberty has posted 35 or more wins in a season.
Cordell, who just completed his junior season with the Flames, was selected with the 340th pick of the 2013 draft by the Rangers. He becomes the second Liberty player to be drafted by Texas. The outfielder will join former Liberty right-hander John Niggli in the Texas system. Niggli was selected in the ninth round by the Rangers, last year.
Cordell ranked as one of the top draft prospects in the Big South Conference by Baseball America this past season. The outfielder started every Liberty game this season. Playing center field for the Flames, Cordell hit .261 with 40 RBIs and 42 runs scored in 2013. He posted 12 doubles, six home runs and was second among the Flames with 102 total bases.
Cordell finished second in the Big South Conference and led Liberty with 28 stolen bases. Not only was the Orangevale, Calif. native among the conference leaders in steals, but in several other statistical categories. Cordell ranked seventh in RBIs and home runs, ninth in total bases and for third in the conference with 19 two-out RBIs. The outfielder was tabbed the Big South Player of the Week for games played Feb. 17-19.
Wimmer, who finished his time in a Flames uniform this past spring, was taken with the 693rd pick by the White Sox. The catcher becomes the third Liberty player to be taken by the White Sox, joining infield Doug Brady (1991) and pitcher Keegan Linza (2010).
Wimmer, a two-time Liberty team captain, had his best year during his last season in a Flames' uniform in 2013. The catcher hit .296 and led the Flames in both RBIs (44) and runs scored (43). He collected 17 doubles, three triples and five home runs during the year, posting a team-leading 110 total bases. Defensively, he threw out 25 of 49 (51%) base runners trying to steal during the year.
The Greenwood, S.C., native was among the Big South Conference leaders in several statistical categories. Wimmer ranked seventh in hits with 72, ninth in run scored, fourth in RBIs, fifth in doubles, and fourth in total bases.
Wimmer was named to the Johnny Bench Award Watch list, recognizing the nation's top catchers. In addition, he was selected to the NCAA Columbia, S.C. All-Regional team, earned Big South All-Conference first team honors and was voted to the Big South All-Tournament team.
Richardson, who finished his junior year this past week, was chosen with the 778th pick by the Padres. The right-hander becomes the first Liberty players to ever be selected by San Diego in the draft.
Richardson overcame an arm injury to turn into the ace of the Liberty mound staff in 2013. After starting the year as a relief pitcher, the right-hander became a starter, throwing three complete games in eight starts. In a team-leading 23 appearances, Richardson posted 4-4 record, a team-leading 2.40 ERA and two saves over 71 1/3 innings. He struck out 48 and walked 18. Opponents hit .237 against him.
The Chesapeake, Va. native finished the year among the Big South leaders in several pitching categories. Richardson completed the 2013 campaign sixth in ERA, ninth in opponent batting average and fourth in fewest runs allowed.
In 2010 as a freshman, the right-hander led the Flames with six saves. Currently, he is second on Liberty's all-time list with a 3.05 career ERA and his 2013 ERA ranks fifth on the program's seasonal performance list.
Richardson earned Columbia, S.C. All-Regional honors this past weekend, pitching a complete game in Liberty's 8-3 win over Clemson on June 1.
Grauer, who completed his junior year this past spring, was selected by the Cincinnati Reds with 1155th pick. The right-hander becomes the second player in program history to be chosen by the Reds and the first since infielder Terry Weaver in 1994.
Grauer served as a relief pitcher for the Flames in 2013. He also was the team's designated hitter for the majority of the year. On the mound, the Chesapeake, Va. native posted a 0-1 record with a 6.06 ERA over 10 appearances. In 16 1/3 innings, he struck out 12 and walked 11 batters.
As a hitter, Grauer batted .280 with 42 RBIs and 27 runs scored. The designated hitter led the Flames with seven
home runs. He finished third in home runs, fifth in RBIs and 10th in slugging percentage among the Big South Conference hitters this season.