As the MLB draft drew closer, South Carolina left-hander Jordan Montgomerys name climbed up the prospect rankings.
Montgomery tried his best to ignore it, even after Baseball America placed him at No. 120 in its Top 500, and MLB.com ranked him at No. 160 in its Top 200, numbers that would put him in the top five rounds.
As he watched the draft Friday, he wasnt sure what to think.
You cant really put too much trust in it. I took it with a little grain of salt that I might be called in that round, Montgomery said. I kept knocking on wood and waiting until I actually saw my name on the board.
He didnt have to wait too long, as the New York Yankees made the draft prognosticators look good by choosing him in the fourth round with the 122nd overall pick.
I kept on my heels and made sure it happened before I could actually celebrate, he said.
He went one round after his catcher, Grayson Greiner, who was picked in the third by the Detroit Tigers. A big-game pitcher who went 20-7 with a 2.87 ERA in his career, Montgomery carved up opponents in the postseason over his three years, from Arkansas to Liberty to North Carolina to Campbell.
He admitted that he loved the idea of pitching in the organization of the most storied franchise in major league history. He noted the uniform similarities of USC and the Yankees.
Ive been pitching in pinstripes and Yankee grays for three years, he said.
Montgomery also liked joining his good friend, former USC left-hander Tyler Webb, in the Yankees system. Webb currently pitches for Double-A Trenton, N.J.
That will be fun maybe getting to play with him again one day, Montgomery said.
He isnt certain how quickly that he might sign. The bonus for his slot in the draft is $424,000. But he still just wants to enjoy the moment.
This is going to be a big part of my life. Im never going to forget this day, he said. Its exciting and Im ready to see what happens.
Congratulations to @Gumbynation34 That's awesome. All your hardwork has paid off!!!— Chad Holbrook (@cholbrook2) June 6, 2014