McKenzie and Smith Drafted on Day 1

The Easton Rockets Organization would like to congratulate RHP Triston McKenzie and RHP Austin Smith for being selected on day 1 of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. McKenzie was first on the board, chosen by the Cleveland Indians, with their 42nd overall pick. Smith soon followed in the 51st slot, belonging to the San Diego Padres.

Both McKenzie and Smith have signed division 1 scholarships, however they will now have new decisions to make over the next few months. We would like to wish these two fine young men the best of luck going forward as they embark on their next ventures. Below is an article written by the Palm Beach Post with more in depth coverage on their experiences.

Palm Beach Post Article

By Anthony Chiang

As the 2015 Major League Baseball Draft grew closer, Park Vista pitcher Austin Smith and Royal Palm Beach pitcher Triston McKenzie admitted the wait leading up to the big day had been hard.

But once the draft began, the pair of Palm Beach County products didn’t have to wait too long to hear their names called. 

In a private draft party surrounded by family, McKenzie learned he had been drafted by the Cleveland Indians with the 42nd overall pick in the Competitive Balance Round A on Monday. The lanky 6-foot-5, 160-pound right-hander was the first player from Palm Beach County taken in this year’s draft.

“It’s just a natural anxiety because you just want to hear your name called,” McKenzie said. “It was everything that I thought it would be.”

Smith was not far behind, as the San Diego Padres took him with the 51st overall pick in the second round of the draft. The Padres also took Park Vista product Trea Turner with the 13th overall pick in last year’s draft.

“It was worth the wait,” said Smith, who was surrounded by about 100 of his family and friends who gathered for a draft party at a Park Vista assistant coach’s house. “I can’t explain how it felt. All of the support I had was unbelievable.”

Although Smith, who is signed with Florida Atlantic, has until July 17 to make a decision between signing a contract to play professional baseball or honoring his commitment, he has already made his choice. He plans to sign with the Padres.

“I’m ready to play professional baseball,” Smith said.

But McKenzie, who is signed with Vanderbilt, isn’t rushing to make his decision. He’s going to take a more patient approach.

“It’s a great blessing to be drafted,” McKenzie said. “I’m just trying to sort everything out. I don’t think I’m going to make a decision right away. I’m going to take a little bit.”

The slot value, or suggested signing bonus, for the 42nd overall pick is $1,468,400. For the 51st overall pick, it is $1,178,400.

Smith becomes the fifth Park Vista product to be selected in the MLB Draft, according to Baseball Reference. He’s also the fourth player to be drafted straight out of Park Vista High. Out of the four Cobras selected out of high school, Smith is the highest drafted prospect.

McKenzie is the ninth Royal Palm alum to be taken in the MLB Draft, according to Baseball Reference. He’s also the seventh prospect and the sixth pitcher to be drafted directly out of Royal Palm High.

“The day went exactly how I thought it would go,” McKenzie said. “It was everything we felt it would be.”

After bursting onto the scene with strong junior seasons, Smith and McKenzie cemented their place near the top of draft boards with impressive senior campaigns. Both pitchers led their respective teams to the state tournament this year.

Smith, who entered the draft as’s 48th-best prospect, posted an 8-2 record and a 1.03 ERA to lead the Cobras to the state tournament for the second consecutive season this year. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound right-hander’s fastball has been clocked as high as 96 mph, according to Perfect Game.

McKenzie, who entered the draft as’s 53rd-best prospect, recorded a 9-5 record and a 0.62 ERA to lead the Wildcats to their first state tournament appearance since 2000 this year. He throws a fastball in the mid-90 to go with a deceptive curveball and changeup.

“Triston and I are excited for one another and we want to see each other succeed,” Smith said. “It’s a wonderful experience.”