Ryan Pressley has never been west of the Mississippi River.
Evans' Ryan Pressley was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim with the 523rd pick of the 17th round in Tuesday's First-Year Player Draft. He reports this week to the team's Rookie League club.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
That will change this week when the recent Evans graduate reports to Mesa, Ariz., and the Rookie League affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
The Angels drafted the Knights' first baseman with the 523rd pick of the 17th round Tuesday in the First-Year Player Draft.
"I knew the Angels were interested in me," Pressley said. "The Reds and Rockies were also really looking at me hard."
Pressley found out he was drafted as he was standing in front of a crowd at the Knights baseball banquet.
"The phone rang and everyone knew that someone would be calling," Pressley said. "So I took the call and I found out I was selected. Then everyone asked who it was and I told them it was the Angels. Everyone started clapping. It was special to have that moment in front of my teammates."
Pressley said the details of the contract will be worked out over the weekend and that he would report to camp later this week. He previously committed to play baseball at Middle Georgia College, but he knew he would play professionally no matter where he was drafted.
"I knew that this was an opportunity that I couldn't pass up," the 6-foot-6 player said. "Who knows if I would have this opportunity next year or the year after?"
Most of the teams that pursued Pressley, who hit three home runs this season, were enamored with his size and raw potential along with his ability to hit from both sides of the plate.
"Obviously, all you have to do is take one look at (Pressley) and you can see he is a threat to hurt you offensively," Evans coach Ricky Beale said recently. "He worked hard in the offseason and improved and it showed."
Pressley, or "Tree," the nickname given to him by teammates, was the highest drafted player from Columbia County since 2000, when the Chicago Cubs drafted Greenbrier's J.J. Johnson in the sixth round. He joins former Evans player Tydus Meadows (ninth round in 1995) and Todd Greene (12th round in 1993) as recent first-day selections in the draft.
Cross Creek catcher Jon Egan was selected in the second round by the Boston Red Sox, and Razorbacks' pitcher Brett Wiggins was taken by the Atlanta Braves in the 30th round.
Former Evans pitcher Steve Dunham, now a senior at USC Aiken, was expected by area scouts to be selected but went undrafted.
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