True to the Tigers

Warner selected by Diamondbacks, but says he'll attend Auburn


Next fall, Cartersville graduate Devin Warner could roll over in his bed in his Auburn dorm room and say the following sentence to his roommate, "Remember, when I got drafted one pick before you in the MLB draft?"

And even though Warner probably wouldn't take the chance to playfully remind Ryan Bliss that the Arizona Diamondbacks selected him one spot before the Boston Red Sox picked the Troup County shortstop, he could still say it and be 100 percent accurate.

"The chances of that, good grief, are so slim that you get two future teammates drafted pick after pick, and you throw in that they're going to be roommates, that's neat," Cartersville head coach Kyle Tucker said. "… Maybe they're getting drafted together again one day."

It's a situation straight out of a hypothetical discussion — "What would happen if he went back-to-back in the draft?" — between guys who played on together on the East Cobb Yankees and had decided to take their talents to Auburn.

The one caveat is that the two infielders were drafted in the 30th round, leading both to decide that they were better off sticking with the Tigers. For Warner, the decision was essentially made Tuesday when rounds 3-10 came and went without his name being called.

"I was kind of looking at the third, fourth and fifth rounds, thinking if I get picked here, I might go," Warner said Wednesday. "Teams weren't really giving me what I wanted, so yesterday was the day I kind of realized I was going to Auburn and put it in my head that I was going to Auburn."

Even though he is choosing to attend Auburn, Warner acknowledged that it's a great honor to be drafted. He mentioned how special it was to join an exclusive group of Cartersville High draft picks, including Donavan Tate, Russ Mitchell, Sam Howard and Connor Justus.

"At first, you don't really realize [how special it is]," Warner said. "It was the 30th round, and I was expecting a little bit better than that. I've really started to realize that it's a really cool thing to get drafted, period, so it's awesome."

Warner also joined classmate Anthony Seigler, who was taken in the first round by the New York Yankees, to become the first pair of Cartersville High teammates drafted in their senior season since Howard and Stephen Collum in 2011.

"It was awesome," Seigler said of seeing Warner get drafted. "I'm so proud for him. I know he's going to Auburn, but I know he was excited to have his name called. That just goes to show if he goes to Auburn and does his thing, he'll get drafted even higher I bet."

Tucker said it's a great way to cap off the season. It was a year full of great memories and having two seniors drafted serves as a nice cherry on top.

"Really neat to top the year off with that," Tucker said. "Something we will look back on fondly. It will be a heck of memory. It already is, but like with anything, it will get better and better."

Given that Warner had essentially made up his mind Tuesday, it was somewhat surprising to see him picked in the 30th round. Arizona, though, had been one of the teams most interested in Warner's services.

A few weeks ago, it looked as though Warner might not get drafted at all. He injured his shoulder in Game 1 of the Class 4A state championship series, missing the remainder of that game and all of Game 2. However, he returned in Game 3 and showed no ill effects, opening the door for a team to take a chance on him.

After a rough regular season, Warner really turned it on in the playoffs. In essentially 10 games, he slashed .321/.432/.643 with three doubles and two home runs.

Having watched Warner go through those trials and tribulations during the spring, Tucker was really happy to see his shortstop get selected.

"Just happy for him to really have a great moment," Tucker said. "… Just a really good day. Really pleased he was drafted this afternoon. I've been keeping my eye on it this afternoon, hoping we'd see his name and just really glad that we did."

Warner understandably had some mixed feelings about the whole thing. Despite being disappointed about when he was taken, he appears to be handling the situation with the best possible attitude.

"It's a pretty cool feeling, not everybody gets picked in the draft," Warner said. "Also It's something that motivates me through college to try to get picked higher in the next one."

Who knows, maybe him and Bliss can be first-round picks in a few years — maybe even go first and second overall.