Baseball Program Continues Astonishing Run of Success The Miami Dade College baseball program, which is known for sending many of its players to the major leagues, recently had four of its former stars either signed by a major NCAA Division I program or selected in the 2017 Major League Baseball (MLB) Draft. In one case, standout pitcher Alex Valverde accomplished both of those feats. Valverde, a 6-foot-2 sophomore right-hander, signed with the University of Alabama and was later drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 22nd round. Also drafted were two players who wore the MDC jersey in previous years. Left fielder Kevin Williams, who played last season for Samford University and hit .356 for MDC in 2016, was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels in the 13th round. And, left-handed pitcher Ivan Pelaez, who played the past two seasons at Faulkner University, was drafted in the 33rd round by the Rays. Pelaez became the 78th former MDC player drafted by a major-league team – an astonishing number. As for Valverde, even with the promise of a professional contract, it is clear he was proud to be selected by Alabama. “It’s always been my dream to play for a school in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) such as Alabama,” said Valverde, who has a 3.0 grade-point average and plans to study criminal justice. “The SEC is a great league and Miami Dade College helped me get there.” Meanwhile, MDC teammate Eddy Demurias, a 6-foot sophomore right-hander, signed with the University of South Carolina, which is also in the SEC. While continuing to play college baseball, Demurias, who has a 3.5 GPA, plans to study Sports Management. Both Valverde and Demurias are grateful to MDC head coach Danny Price and pitching coach Kevin Long for helping them get to this point in their careers. “They’ve done a good job of giving me a chance to play and develop,” said Demurias, who aspires to work in the front office for a professional sports franchise. “They reached out to fouryear schools to make sure I got this chance.” – WV Total number of MDC baseball players drafted to MLB: 78
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