Great American Ballpark certainly appeals to Gavin LaValley.
The Carl Albert senior was selected by the Cincinnati Reds with the 20th pick in the fourth round and 125th overall of the MLB First-Year Player Draft on Friday, possibly finding a home in one of the majors’ top ballparks for hitters.
“It’s a great hitting park,” LaValley said. “I think it’s one of the No. 1 offensive parks in the league, so I’m pretty excited about that.
“I want to thank the Reds for giving me a great opportunity and let me start my career as a Red, so I’m ready.”
LaValley, who is 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, hit .539 with 19 home runs and 75 RBIs this season, leading the Titans to their third straight Class 5A championship.
He has signed with Oklahoma, but has not decided his future.
“I’m just trying to soak this moment in and enjoy it right now,” LaValley said.
LaValley becomes the third Carl Albert player selected in the MLB Draft since 2010, following J.T. Realmuto and Taylor Hawkins. Realmuto was selected in the third round in 2010 by the Miami Marlins and made his major-league debut Thursday night.
Hawkins was selected in the 12th round of the 2012 draft by the Tampa Bay Rays.
RAYS PICK OU’S JAMES
In his first full season behind the plate for Oklahoma, junior catcher Mac James delivered at the plate, leading the team in average (.330) and hitting 15 doubles and driving in 41 runs.
Now, the Sooner has a decision to make after being drafted in the sixth round by the Tampa Bay Rays at No. 187 overall.
James was the only Sooner taken in the first 10 rounds of the draft. He was picked just after the Texas Rangers selected Oral Roberts third baseman Jose Trevino with pick No. 186.
Another possible OU player was picked when the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim picked Northeastern A&M pitcher Jake Jewell, a former Norman standout, in the fifth round.
ANDERSON DRAFTED IN THIRD ROUND
Former Deer Creek standout Brian Anderson was the first player with Oklahoma ties selected in the draft, going to the Miami Marlins in the third round with the second pick and No. 76 overall.
Anderson’s draft stock rose after a strong regional tournament this season in which he hit .615 in four games with eight hits and three runs. This season, he hit .328 with seven home runs, 15 doubles and 51 runs.
The Arkansas second baseman was also the first player taken from the university, which had a player taken in the first two rounds each year since 2010. He’s also the fourth Razorback the past five years selected by the Marlins.
SMALL COLLEGES SHINE
It was a banner day for small colleges in the Oklahoma City metro as both Oklahoma Baptist and Oklahoma City University had multiple selections.
OCU pitchers Brad Wieck and Chris Pike were both selected, with Wieck (5-5, 3.23 ERA) going to the New York Mets in the seventh round. The Rays selected Pike (10-3, 1.89 ERA) in the ninth round.
OBU right-hander Julian Merryweather was selected in the fifth round with the 158th overall pick by the Cleveland Indians after posting a sparkling 1.07 ERA this season — second best in school history. He was later joined by 2013 NAIA Player of the Year Matt Page, who was picked in the 10th round by the Washington Nationals.