As the final pick of the 2014 Major League Baseball draft was announced last week, a dozen names of former Newport Gulls had already been called. In all, 11 MLB teams drafted these 12 Gulls, and for some of them, it will mean their professional baseball careers are about to begin.
The first Gull to come off the board was 2012 and 2013 RHP Brett Graves (Missouri). Graves, an NECBL All-Star in 2013, was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the third round (101st overall) after going 3-6 with a 3.86 ERA and 64 strikeouts with the Missouri Tigers in 2014.
RHP Adam Ravenelle (Vanderbilt), who was a solid pitcher with the Gulls during the team’s championship run in 2012, was drafted in the fourth round (130th overall) by the Detroit Tigers. Ravenelle was mainly a setup man during his tenure with the Vanderbilt Commodores, going 3-2 with a 1.56 ERA with 33 strikeouts in 21 appearances.
In the eighth round, OF Austin Slater (Stanford) was drafted by the San Francisco Giants with the 238th overall pick in the draft. Slater, who mostly played in the infield when he was with the Gulls in 2012, was the starting center fielder for the Stanford Cardinal in 2014, hitting .341 with two home runs and 40 RBI.
The single-season home run champion for the Newport Gulls, OF Yale Rosen (Washington State), a 2012 team member, was the first Gull selected in the draft’s third day, getting selected by the San Diego Padres in the 11th round (327th overall). Rosen hit .294 with five home runs and 28 RBI in 54 games with the Washington State Cougars in 2014.
Rosen wasn’t the only Gulls alum from Washington State drafted. 2012 Gull LHP Tanner Chleborad was selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the sixteenth round (481st overall). Chleborad started 15 games for the Cougars, going 4-7 with a 3.84 ERA and 54 strikeouts.
University of Maryland outfielder and 2012 Gull Charlie White was selected by the Chicago Cubs in the 21st round (619th overall). White, who dazzled with his speed and defense during the 2012 season, hit .290 with two home runs and 29 RBI, while stealing 25 bases for the Maryland Terrapins.
After establishing himself as one of the top relievers for the 2012 NECBL Champion Gulls, LHP Ryan Pennell (Elon) was selected in the 22nd round (667th overall) by the Tampa Bay Rays. As the closer for the Elon Phoenix, Pennell went 1-3 with a 3.52 ERA, saving 12 games while holding batters to a .225 average.
RHP Bobby Wheatley (Southern California) was the only member of the 2011 Newport Gulls to be drafted in the 2014 MLB Draft, after being selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 26th round (774th overall). Wheatley went 3-4 with a 4.32 ERA in his senior season with the USC Trojans, striking out 34 batters in 13 starts.
Playing as a Gull for two seasons was especially beneficial for INF Conor Keniry (Wake Forest), who was selected in the 27th round (814th overall) by the Washington Nationals. A two-time NECBL All-Star, Keniry finished his senior season hitting .256 with three home runs and 21 RBI for the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.
Although he was primarily an outfielder during his time with the Newport Gulls, David Graybill (Arizona State) was drafted as a pitcher by the New York Yankees in the 33rd round (992nd overall). Even though he didn’t pitch during his junior season with the Arizona State Sun Devils, Graybill did pitch a scoreless inning with the Gulls in 2013.
Slated to play for the Newport Gulls in 2014, LHP Kyle McGrath (Louisville) was selected by the San Diego Padres in the 36th round (1077th overall). McGrath, who also pitched for the Gulls in 2013, made 22 appearances with the Louisville Cardinals, going 2-1 with a 1.38 ERA and 40 strikeouts.
The final member of the 2014 Newport Gulls draft class was OF Cody Jones (TCU), who was selected by the Cleveland Indians in the 38th round (1148th overall) of the draft. Jones, a junior who played with the TCU Horned Frogs, hit .269 with 17 RBI and 28 stolen bases.
The Newport Gulls, members of the 12-team New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL), are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, founded as the Rhode Island Gulls in 1998 in Cranston, R.I., before moving to Newport in 2001. In addition to recruiting, fielding, and developing a team of the nation’s top collegiate baseball athletes and attracting 50,000 fans annually to Cardines Field, the predominantly volunteer organization strives to benefit the youth of Newport County via summer camps, reading programs, fundraisers, scholarships, and charitable donations – totaling nearly $1 million since 2001. The Gulls are five-time champions of the NECBL – the winningest franchise in league history – and were ranked as the overall No. 1 summer collegiate baseball team in the country by Perfect Game USA in 2012.
For more information about the Newport Gulls, visit facebook.com/newportgulls, follow the Gulls on Twitter @NewportGulls or visit www.newportgulls.com.