OXFORD, Miss. (WCBI/Ole Miss Athletics) – Juniors Stuart Turner, Mike Mayers and Bobby Wahl were the first three Rebels to have their named called in the 2013 MLB Draft when all three players were taken in the top five rounds when the draft resumed on day two of the annual event on Friday.
The Minnesota Twins selected Turner in the third round with the 78th overall pick, while Mayers was taken by the St. Louis Cardinals with the 93rd overall pick. Both picks came in the third round of the draft, which completed its first two rounds on Thursday night. Wahl was then taken in the fifth round by the Oakland Athletics with the 161st pick overall.
Turner helped lead the Rebels to a 38-24 record this season, pacing the team at the plate with a .374 batting average, 51 RBI and 44 runs scored. He hit 15 doubles, a triple and five RBI as the top slugger on the team and one of the top hitters in the Southeastern Conference.
An All-America and All-SEC selection, Turner is a finalist for the Johnny Bench Award honoring the nation’s top catcher in collegiate baseball. The junior threw out an astounding 51 percent of base runners this season on steal attempts, catching 21-of-41 on the run.
Turner is the first Rebel player drafted by the Minnesota Twins since Matt Tolbert in the 2004 MLB Draft. Tolbert went on to play for the Twins in the major leagues from 2006-2011.
“It’s a dream to play in the big leagues. This is just a stepp
ing stone on the way to that dream. I’m beyond blessed to have been able to play baseball at Ole Miss and with those guys. I wish I had been able to do it for more than one year. It was a great experience, even if it didn’t end the way we all wanted it to. Getting drafted isn’t the end though; it’s just the start of the process.”
The second Rebel drafted in 2013, Mayers helped anchor the Ole Miss pitching rotation for the second straight season as the Saturday starter in weekend series.
Mayers posted 2.83 ERA this past season with 73 strikeouts and held opponents to a .227 batting average in his time on the mound. The right-hander combined for a pair of shutouts, including 7.0 innings of scoreless relief against No. 13 Mississippi State in a game that was suspended due to rain, earning SEC Pitcher of the Week honors.
For his career, Mayers posted a 12-9 record with 171 strikeouts and a .236 opponent batting average, helping the Rebels to a pair of NCAA Tournament berths, including the NCAA Regional Championship in 2012 at Texas A&M. He also posted five shutouts in his three years.
Mayers is the first Rebel drafted by the Cardinals since Scott Bittle was taken in the fourth round of the 2009 MLB Draft. Lance Lynn, a current starter in the Cardinals’ rotation, also played for the Rebels and was taken in the 2008 MLB Draft in the supplemental first round with the.
“It’s incredible to have your name called on the draft. I’m blessed to be able to pursue this dream at 21 years old. Not many people can say that. It’s a great opportunity to play for an organization like the Cardinals, but I have to thank the fans and people at Ole Miss for the opportunity to get to this point. I can’t say enough about the coaches and my teammates and what they’ve meant to me the last few years.”
Wahl, the third Rebel selected in the 2013 MLB Draft when he was taken with the 161st overall pick by the Oakland Athletics in the fifth round.
An All-America and All-SEC selection in 2013, Wahl posted a perfect 10-0 record on the season with a 2.03 ERA through his 16 starts. He became the first 10-win pitcher for the Rebels since the 2006 season when Cody Satterwhite posted 11 wins working out of the bullpen for most of the season. Wahl is the first regular starter to hit the 10-win mark since 2001 when Pete Montrenes went 10-4.
This season, Wahl struck out 78 through his 97.2 innings of work and held opponents to a .197 batting average in his time on the mound. He combined for three shutouts and also pitched a complete-game shutout of Tennessee this past season. His three combined shutouts all came against nationally-ranked teams and helped set up a pair of series sweeps and a series win over in-state rival Mississippi State.
Through his 16 starts, Wahl left the game with the Rebels trailing only once. In eight starts against nationally-ranked teams, the right-hander posted a 4-0 record with a 1.14 ERA and in his four no-decisions left the game with the Rebels tied or holding to a lead.
Wahl is the first Rebel drafted by the Oakland A’s since J.R. Pickens was taken in the 2002 MLB Draft in the 10th round. Former Rebel and SEC Freshman of the Year, Seth Smith, currently starts for the Oakland Athletics in the outfield.
“It’s a great honor to be drafted by the Oakland Athletics. It’s a dream come true to be able to have the opportunity to play professional baseball and you can’t ask for more than an opportunity. I have a lot to think about.”