While we were all fixating on the Mets draft selections for most of this week (rightfully so), something odd happened during the draft that many of you may not have noticed.
The Texas Rangers drafted University of Georgia outfielder Johnathan Taylor on Wednesday in the 33rd round of the First Year Player Draft. It’s not exactly something that immediately jumps out at you, but let me explain.
You see, Johnathan Taylor is partially paralyzed. Two months ago, he suffered a broken neck in a devastating outfield collision with his teammate Zach Cone during a game. He is unlikely to walk again and is considered a tetraplegic, because the paralysis affected all his extremities
Making this story even more interesting is that the Rangers actually drafted Cone, the outfielder he collided with, in the second round of the draft a day earlier.
Cone and Taylor are friends, and Texas Rangers director of amateur scouting Kip Fagg said that his team was trying to do something nice.
“He’s a great kid, and he’s going through a terrible time in his life and we thought this would be something to uplift him. I’ve seen the kid play since high school, he was a great player at Georgia.”
ESPN.com spoke with Taylor’s college coach, David Perno, who spoke to Taylor shortly after he received the call he had been selected by the Texas Rangers.
“J.T. is definitely a player worthy of getting drafted. He’s been a big part of our program, and we are all very excited for him. When I talked to him after he got the call, he was in the middle of his rehabilitation work, laughing and having a good time and was thrilled to be drafted.”
I applaud the Texas Rangers for making this tragedy a little less tragic and lifting this young player’s spirits. It was a classy move, by a classy organization that is headed by some great baseball people.