PEMBROKE — When Jordan Edgerton put on his number 13 jersey for The University of North Carolina at Pembroke baseball team three years ago, he didn’t realize it would foreshadow of his future.
Now, after his junior year, Edgerton is getting the opportunity to live out his childhood dream and play for the Atlanta Braves, his favorite team growing up.
“I was numb, I think I was happy to get it over with, especially from the Braves,” Edgerton said. “I think my family was more excited than I was.”
Edgerton will sign with the Braves today after being drafted in the ninth round of the Major League Baseball first-year player draft last weekend. He will immediately report to Danville, Va., to play for for the Danville Braves, the club’s rookie league affiliate.
The ninth-round pick makes Edgerton the highest drafted player in the program’s history since Ron Norman was picked in the fifth round by the Rangers in 1974, and only the 13th draftee in UNCP history.
“I’m pretty excited about it,” he said. “I don’t have to worry about school, or the social aspects any more. It’s a job now, so I have to treat it that way.”
The ability to focus on baseball should help Edgerton improve on what were already stellar numbers. Last season he led the team in almost every offensive category including home runs, extra base hits, and RBIs. He was also second on the team in batting average, hits and runs scored.
“Jordan had really great bat speed, so that’s one of the parts of his game the scouts liked,” Paul O’Neil, UNCP’s baseball coach said. “The biggest attribute to Jordan is his baseball IQ is off the charts.”
That baseball IQ is something Edgerton himself credits to some of his high offensive numbers.
“I take pride in having a baseball IQ to myself,” he said. “I feel it’s one of the underrated aspects of the game.”
It was a mix of the numbers and the baseball IQ that grabbed the attention of Braves scout Billy Best, who was the man behind four of the Braves top ten picks in this year’s draft.
Along with Best, Edgerton said there were scouts in the stands for most weekday games the team played.
The seeming weakness of Edgerton’s resume could be his defensive skills. This year at third base, he had 17 errors, the most on the team. O’Neil dismissed the concerns.
“This year he made a few more errors,” O’Neil said. “But that’s not a reflection of him as a fielder.”
O’Neil said while there is still room to grow, Edgerton has a body and an arm that are both ready for the professional level. Edgerton said he knows there are areas of his game, such as his fielding, that he needs to work on.
O’Neil also knows it won’t be easy to move on without Edgerton, but that comes with the territory of coaching.
“It’s exciting for him as a player to reach a goal he was working for,” O’Neil said. “It’s exciting for the university as a whole.
“Anyone who gets to experience their professional dream, I’m very happy for him. Doesn’t matter to me that he was taken by the Braves or the Mets of whatever. East Coast, West Coast, it doesn’t matter.”
As for his time at Pembroke, Edgerton says he won’t regret the time he spent there.
“I met so many good guys there,” he said “It’s gonna be hard not to have a senior year with them.”
UNCP’s MLB DRAFT SELECTIONS
2014: Jordan Edgerton, Braves, 9th Round
2008: Jason Morales, Royals, 24th Round
1994: Torrey Pettitford, Phillies, 13th Round
1991: Jeff Locklear, Giants, 54th Round
1989: Stephen Matchett, Tigers, 35th Round
1974: Ron Norman, Rangers, 5th Round
1970: Ronnie Collins, Mets, 4th Round
1970: Preston Douglas, Orioles, 44th Round
1969: Melvin Williams, Senators, 7th Round
1968: Mike Carruthers, Indians, 15th Round
1966: Richard Thompson, Dodgers, 3rd Round
1966: William Davis, Indians, 5th Round
1966: Mike Carruthers, Indians, 25th Round