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Pair of Vols Drafted on Final Day of MLB Draft

(Photo via Tennessee Athletics)

Wednesday marked the final day of the 2019 MLB Draft, and it brought more good news to the Tennessee baseball program as two starters were selected in the later rounds.

Starting junior shortstop Ricky Martinez was the first player drafted on day three, and he was picked up by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 18th round with the 542nd overall pick.

Jay Charleston, Tennessee’s starting centerfielder, was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 26th round with the 769th overall pick.

Martinez was a newcomer for the Vols this year and quickly asserted himself as one of the best defensive shortstops in the SEC. The JUCO product signed with Tennessee out of Grayson College prior to this season, and he immediately made his presence felt. At the plate, he hit .279 and led the team with 18 doubles. Martinez scored 36 runs, drove in 28 runs, and stole 11 bases.

In the field, the Texas native led the team with 168 assists. Martinez committed just seven errors in 257 chances and did not record an error over the last 32 games of the season.

Martinez helped lead Tennessee to its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2005. In the Chapel Hill Regional, he led the team with five hits and was pivotal in the Vols’ two victories over UNC-Wilmington and Liberty.

On the bases, Jay Charleston led the Vols with an SEC-best 41 stolen bases. It was the second time in which the speedy centerfielder led the conference in stolen bases. For his career, Charleston ranks fifth all-time in stolen bases with 67. He became the first Vol since Chris Burke and Stevie Daniel in 2001 to steal 40 bases in a season.

At the plate this season, Charleston hit .220, but as a sophomore last year, the Florida native hit .285 to go along with four home runs and 26 RBIs.

Charleston finished his junior season at Tennessee with a career-high nine doubles and his only career triple in 232 at-bats. He scored a career-high 44 runs and drove in 22 RBI on the season.

With Martinez and Charleston getting drafted, Tennessee finished with six players taken in the 2019 MLB Draft. That marks the most Vols taken in a single MLB Draft since 2015 when six Vols were also selected that year.

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