Auburn pitcher will Kendall, suspended/former Tiger outfielder Jay Gonzalez and outfield signee Anfernee Grier were all taken in the late rounds of the MLB Draft on Saturday.
Kendall was selected in the 30th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates. The left-handed pitcher had a rough year coming off Tommy John surgery in 2013, compiling an 0-5 record and a 7.54 ERA. Before suffering an elbow injury that ended his season in April 2012, he was one of Auburn's best starters, locking down the Saturday job. He went 4-0 with a 1.96 ERA.
Kendall, a junior, still has a year of eligibility left and will have to decide between the Tigers and professional baseball.
Gonzalez was suspended long before this season began, and there was never any -- publicized, at least -- resolution to the issue. Whether or not he was actually kicked off the team is unclear. The Texas Rangers drafted him in the 39th round. Last season, he was the Tigers' leadoff man, a role in which he flourished. Gonzo hit .308/.402/.412, and he led Auburn with 48 runs scored and 30 stolen bases on 34 attempts. In the field, he committed just one error and finished the year with a .978 fielding percentage.
Grier, who plays center field for Russell County HS, was taken by the Detroit Tigers, also in the 39th. Standing 6'0 and weighing in at 170 pounds, he is ranked as the 13th-best outfielder in the country and No. 1 high school player in the state of Alabama. Grier said he will pass on pro ball and head to Auburn, per Kevin Price of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
"I was a little disappointed (in not being drafted earlier), but I realize what it is," Grier said. "I got over it pretty quick."