By Travis M. Smith | KBEC Sport
The Waxahachie baseball program produced its second-ever second-round pick Sunday night when the Detroit Tigers made the call to shortstop Peyton Graham.
Graham, a 6-foot-4 shortstop and 2019 graduate of Waxahachie High, was the 51st selection in the 2022 Major League Baseball first-year player draft.
Graham was a redshirt sophomore at the University of Oklahoma before inking his professional contract, which included a $1.8M signing bonus. The slot value for the 51st pick in the draft was set at $1,501,600, meaning the Tigers valued Graham highly enough to overspend and ensure he signed.
Graham made his professional debut on Aug. 5 with the Lakeland (FL) Flying Tigers, the low-A affiliate of the big league Tigers. He has collected three hits, three stolen bases and four walks over his first four professional games.
Graham was named a first-team All-American by Baseball America, D1Baseball and the NCBWA, a second-team All-American by the ABCA and a third-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball.
The selection on Sunday does, however, accomplish a couple of feats for baseball in Ellis County.
The first is that Graham officially joins Corey Pointer as the only other second-round baseball draft pick in the history of Waxahachie baseball, which began in 1909.
The second is that Graham has become the second-highest baseball draftee in all of Ellis County — matching, to the pick, Midlothian’s Russell Smith from this past year.
Pointer, a 1994 Waxahachie graduate, was the 46th overall selection (Rd 2, 12th pick) by the Atlanta Braves in the 1994 MLB Draft. The pick came via trade with the Boston Red Sox.
Pointer was drafted out of high school. The catcher ultimately spent seven seasons in the minor leagues with Atlanta and Pittsburgh. He eventually stepped away as a player following 498 games played (19 at AA in 2000) with 66 home runs, 201 RBIs and a .209 batting average.
As for Smith, the 2017 Midlothian graduate was selected with the 51st pick by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 2021 draft. The 6-foot-7 left-handed pitcher dazzled on the mound for TCU before his selection.
Smith is currently 2-4 on the season (13 starts) with a 4.63 ERA and 57 strikeouts to 23 walks over 58.1 IP with the High-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.
As for the man of the hour, Graham most certainly left his mark on the OU baseball program.
For those who didn’t follow the program this spring, Graham led the Sooners to a 45-24 record and a trip to the College World Series championship series. He was the unquestioned superstar of the program.
Graham was also named the NCBWA District 6 Co-Player of the Year and was a finalist for the Brooks Wallace Award for the top shortstop in the nation as well as a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award. He was a first-team All-Big 12 selection and was named Most Outstanding Player of the 2022 Big 12 Championship.
The Waxahachie product led Oklahoma in 2022 with 20 home runs, four triples, 71 RBIs, 75 runs scored and 34 stolen bases, and batted .333. He has also registered 17 doubles, 29 multiple hit games and a team-best 21 multiple-RBI contests. Graham became the first player in OU history to register at least 20 home runs and at least 30 stolen bases in a season.
According to OU Athletics, a total of 287 Sooners had been selected in the MLB Draft prior to Sunday — including 21 first-rounders. As of publication, Graham, Cade Horton (1-7) and Jake Bennett (2-45) had raised that number to 290.
At least one Sooner has been drafted every year since 1970, and OU has had at least one player picked in the top 10 rounds every year since 2011.
Prior to Graham, the only other Sooner hailing from Waxahachie to be drafted was Drew Harrison. The 2009 Waxahachie graduate was selected in the 23rd round of the 2012 MLB draft by the Detroit Tigers.
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith