By Travis Hudgons
Three seniors from DeKalb County’s Redan High School have been selected in the Major League Baseball Draft.
Redan is one of only two high schools in the nation that had three players selected in the 2018 MLB draft, according to maxpreps.com.
Taj Bradley, Kelvin Smith and Lyndon Weaver were selected during the June 6-8 draft to play professional baseball after competing with 1,214 players selected by 30 MLB teams over 40 rounds.
Bradley had the highest overall pick at Redan. He was selected in the 5th round (150th overall) by the Tampa Bay Rays. Smith was picked in the 20th round (585th overall) by the Detroit Tigers and Weaver was selected in the 40th round (1193rd overall) by the Oakland Athletics. Weaver has chosen to forego entering the league and will attend Eastern Kentucky University, according to Redan head baseball coach Alexander Wyche.
Wyche was excited for his players.
“To get drafted is the ultimate goal. It’s a life-changing opportunity for the players and their family,” Wyche said.
Redan is no stranger to success on the baseball diamond. The Raiders won the 2013 Class AAAA state champion and have had several former players drafted into the pros such as Wally Joyner, Brandon Phillips, Chris Nelson, and Domonic Brown.
Redan had a solid team this season. Weaver was DeKalb County’s second-leading hitter with 47 hits and a .511 batting average. Smith and Weaver played at Redan for four years and Bradley played for two years after transferring from Stephenson.
Wyche was thrilled for all his players and was especially happy for the $747,500 signing bonus that Bradley received.
“They took a young guy who has a big upside and had a great year for me. They invested a lot of money in him (Bradley) and he has a great opportunity to make it to the show,” said Wyche.
John Hollins, director of ATL METRO RBI, said he was also proud of the Redan students’ accomplishments. All three of the students played for his summer travel team, which provides training to inner-city youths whose families cannot afford the costs of participating on a travel team, which can run $2,500 to $5,000.
“It’s very expensive and the level of competition is so high. We only charge $100 for kids to participate and we make sure that our players receive the same level of training from pros that players on elite teams get,” said Hollins.
Hollins said the Atlanta Braves provides $21,000 in sponsorship to his summer program.
“We aggregate the teams based on age and talent so that all of our players receive training and get to play. The top players move on to compete in 10 highly competitive games,” Hollins said.
Hollins said his program helped produce a total of six players, three of whom attended Redan, who were drafted by professional baseball teams this year.