Former American Legion Teammates Drafted
Frostburg State and former CCBC Essex star Ross signed a contract with the Braves, while the Cardinals took Jacob of Georgia Tech.
Greg Ross (Loch Raven High) and Kevin Jacob (Parkville) were once teammates on the Parkville American Legion Post 183 baseball team.
"I caught him some," Ross, a former catcher, told Patch on Friday.
Now there is a chance the two pitchers, who faced each other in high school, could play against each other as minor league baseball players after both were taken last week in the Major League Baseball draft.
Ross became just the third player in the history of Division III Frostburg State to be chosen when he was picked by the Atlanta Braves in the 18th round. One of the other players drafted from the Bobcats' program is Jim Riggleman, who grew up in Rockville and is now the manager of the Washington Nationals.
Ross signed a contract with the Braves on Thursday and is slated to begin his pro career in the Gulf Coast League in Florida, where play begins June 20.
The idea of making it to the pro level crossed Ross' mind after a strong sophomore year at CCBC Essex.
"There were a lot of colleges that were looking at me," said Ross, who played two years at Frostburg. "Everything fell into place. Growing up I always watched [the Braves] and the Orioles."
Ross said when he was 11 or 12, family members encouraged him to invest in stocks as a learning experience. He picked the Braves, though he no longer has the stocks.
Ross was the first player to be drafted from Frostburg State since 1978. The Braves' scout that followed him, Gene Kerns, remembers scouting Riggleman, drafted by the Dodgers in 1974, in the 1970s when he worked for the Royals.
"You look for good, easy arm action, little effort in delivery, where there's not a lot that has to be fixed. And this young man has it. I can guarantee you that," Kerns said in a statement released by Frostburg.
Ross was 11-2 with an ERA of 1.49 this past season. He set a school mark with 112 strikeouts—the old mark was set in 1972. He was named All-America First Team by the American Baseball Coaches Association and the Capital Athletic Conference player of the year.
"His work ethic is unparalleled," Frostburg head coach Guy Robertson said in a statement.
Jacob, after his senior year at Georgia Tech, was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 31st round last week.
He was drafted as a junior by the Yankees last year in the 19th round even though he was injured. Jacob didn't sign with New York and decided to return to school for his senior year, producing an ERA of 2.25 in 17 games (16 innings) this season.
"Last year I got hurt and came back and got hurt again," Jacob said of his 2010 season with the Yellow Jackets. "When I got drafted I was not even throwing a baseball [on a regular basis]. I thought it was pretty neat [to get picked]. I could not even throw. I took the whole summer off and began throwing when school started" last fall.
Jacob was one of 10 Georgia Tech players drafted in 2010, but the only one who did not sign with a pro team.
Jacob was 5-4 with an ERA of 4.34 in his college career with 119 strikeouts in 112 innings. Among the former Georgia Tech stars who return to the school in the winter for workouts include Orioles catcher Matt Wieters and Yankee first baseman Mark Teixeira, who is from Severna Park.
"I feel like this year I did not get as many innings as I wanted," Jacob said on Thursday. "I felt like I fell down in the draft [list]. I really want to work something out" and sign.
Jacob's agent is Scott Boras, who handles some of the biggest names in Major League Baseball.
Jacob said if he does sign, his best guess of a possible place to start his pro career would be with Batavia (NY) in the New York-Penn League. Batavia plays a series in Aberdeen at Ripken Stadium July 23-25 against the Orioles affiliate.
He said he began playing organized baseball with Overlea-Fullerton Recreation when he was about 6 and played there until he was 13, and then played four years at Parkville High.
He was 9-2 with an 0.45 ERA in 2007 at Parkville and he set school records for strikeouts in a season (125) and career (316) and he won 23 games as a prep All-American, named by Louisville Slugger in 2007.
Jacob could wind up in Johnson City (TN) in the rookie advanced Appalachian League at some point.
The Braves also have a team in the Appy League, in Danville, VA, which means there is a chance the two Parkville American Legion products could face off in August when Johnson City and Danville meet if Ross is promoted from the Gulf Coast League to Danville.