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MLB Draft good to Vols ... for now

The Chicago Cubs selected former Tennessee ace Zack Godley in the 10th round Friday, but the bigger story for UT in the Major League Baseball draft is the names that haven’t been announced.

Tennessee baseball signee Kyle Serrano, a pitcher from Farragut (Tenn.) High School

Farragut (Tenn.) High School star Kyle Serrano — the son of UT coach Dave Serrano — was projected by many analysts to be a first-round pick but wasn’t selected in Thursday’s first or second round.

The Serrano family never specified how much money it would have taken to keep Kyle from playing at UT, but several sources told govols247 going into the draft that he probably would need to be taken by the early second round to get a bonus big enough to skip college.

Dave Serrano ended any suspense late Thursday night.

“Happy to say (Kyle) is going to be a Vol,” Dave tweeted. “His dream will happen in 3 years. Still very proud!”

Kyle Serrano also took to Twitter later and suggested he was fine with Thursday’s outcome.

“Couldn’t be more excited to wear the orange and white at the University of Tennessee next year!” Kyle tweeted.

Kyle Serrano could still be drafted, but much like highly touted shortstop and former Farragut teammate A.J. Simcox last season, he’ll surely slide way down every team’s board now that they know he’s not signable. Simcox was projected by some as a potential pick in the second round but slid all the way to the 32nd round before the Colorado Rockies drafted him — and that, unsurprisingly, was all for naught. Simcox enrolled at UT and had a solid freshman season, as did fellow draftee Vincent Jackson.

The 11th through 40th rounds of the draft will take place Saturday, and Kyle Serrano’s name won’t be the only one to keep and eye on throughout the day.

UT signee Bret Marks, a right-handed pitcher from Wallace State (Ala.) Community College

Bret Marks, a right-handed, side-arming pitcher from Wallace State (Ala.) Community College, signed with UT in the fall but could come off the board pretty early Saturday. The former Mississippi State pitcher was drafted by the New York Yankees in last year’s 22nd round but chose to return to Wallace State, and he finished this season with a 1.72 ERA in 17 games after finishing with a 1.80 in 23 games as a freshman. Marks has been a starter and closer for Wallace State, collecting an 18-8 record with eight saves the past two seasons — but seven of those saves came as a freshman, and he was primarily a starter as a sophomore.

Jonathan Youngblood, a speedy Lexington, Ky., native who played outfield the past seasons at Meridian (Miss.) Community College and signed with the Vols this week, has been drafted twice — including in the 15th round last year by the Pittsburgh Pirates — and could be drafted again Saturday, but sources said it would take a good-sized signing bonus to keep him from playing at UT.

Nathaniel Maggio, a UT signee from Blessed Trinity Catholic High School in Roswell, Ga., is also worth keeping an eye on Saturday. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound first baseman is a bit raw but has a great frame and tremendous power from the left side of the plate, so his name could pop up at some point during the draft. Sources have been confident that Maggio — a good athlete who plays tight end for his high school’s football team — also will enroll at UT in the fall.

If Saturday goes as well as the first two days of the draft went for UT, Dave Serrano will finally seem to catch a break. The Vols lost two big-time junior college arms — Tyler Smith and Adam Giacalone — last year to the Texas Rangers and Milwaukee Brewers, and Serrano expected both to enroll at UT. Giacalone’s late decision to sign with the Brewers was the most stunning to the UT’s coaches, who sorely missed him and Smith last season while struggling in SEC play with a young pitching staff.

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