Three SWAC Players Selected in MLB Draft
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Three Southwestern Athletic Conference baseball players were selected in the 2018 MLB Draft on Wednesday.
Prairie View A&M senior pitcher Darrien Williams was selected in the 26th round by the Angels of the American League’s Western Division.
As a hitter, he had a career average of .290 with six home runs and 17 RBI. His best year at the plate came as a sophomore in 2016, where hit .350 in 34 starts with five home runs and 13 RBI.
After one relief appearance as a freshman and 12 starts on the mound as a sophomore, Williams became a full-time pitcher in his final two seasons. He made 40 appearances with 34 starts, winning eight times. He struck out 172 hitters in 205.1 innings.
His best statistical year came as a junior in 2017 when he posted a 4-4 record with a 4.41 ERA with 63 strikeouts in 67.1 innings.
This past season, Williams struck out 69 batters in 76 innings with a 2-6 record.
Marshawn Taylor of Grambling State was selected in the 28th round by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Taylor spent two seasons in the Black and Gold, earned several accolades, including being named the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Player of the Year, Hitter of the Year and Newcomer of the Year in 2017. He is a two-time All-SWAC First Team shortstop and earned All-SWAC Tournament Team honors after Grambling State finished runner-up to Texas Southern in the 2018 Baseball Tournament.
At the plate this season, Taylor batted a team-best 404 in 218 at-bats. He played and started in all 52 games at shortstop, where he tallied 88 hits, including five doubles and three triples. Taylor scored 50 times and drove in 44 runners. The Chicago, Ill. native was extremely patient at the plate by drawing 25 walks and was 20-of-24 in stolen base attempts. Nationally, Taylor ranked fifth in hits per game, seventh in batting average and 14th in toughest to strikeout.
For his career, Taylor batted .403 in 422 at-bats, with 170 hits, including 17 doubles and four triples. He scored 100 times and drove in 82 runners. Also, he drew 54 walks and was 36-of-46 in stolen base attempts.
Alabama State third baseman Ray Hernandez became the latest draftee from the Hornets in the MLB First-Year Player Draft as he was selected by the Atlanta Braves in the 29th round Wednesday afternoon.
The senior from Orlando (Fla.) was among the nations best in several categories as he led Alabama State to the East Division championship in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) this season. He finished the season hitting .379 with 11 home runs – both team highs for the Hornets – and finished with 45 runs batted in and 46 runs scored. He also connected on 12 doubles and led the team with a .601 slugging percentage as the Hornets made the semifinals of the conference tournament.
A two-time all-conference selection for the Hornets, Hernandez finishes his career leading the school with 35 home runs and second in runs batted in with 172. He was also named All-Tournament at the conclusion of the SWAC championship tournament after hitting .471 in five games with three doubles and four runs batted in.
Alabama State, Grambling State and Prairie View A&M Sports Information contributed to this report.