Ole Miss shortstop Grae Kessinger is the first Ole Miss player taken in the first 2019 MLB Draft.
Kessinger was selected by the Houston Astros in the second round with the 68th overall pick. The slot value is $953,000. Kessinger led the SEC in hits during the 2019 regular season with 51 in league play. He boasts a .332 average with three homers and 47 RBI on the year.
“It was an awesome moment,” Kessinger said. “It is something I have been working for my entire life.”
The grandson of former major leaguer Don Kessinger, was drafted in the 26th round by the Padres out of high school but chose to come to campus along with three of his high school teammates Houston Roth, Thomas Dillard and Jason Barber. Kessinger is a sure-handed defensive shortstop with a strong arm and has improved immensely as a hitter from his freshman year in which he hit .175 with just two home runs and 16 RBIs. He hit .300 as a sophomore with eight long balls and slugged at .473 mark. Kessinger was with his family late Monday night when he found out he’d been selected. The pick was submitted around 11 P.M. CT.
“It was kind of a stressful night,” Kessinger said. “But ultimately, it worked out well. It was awesome. It was a moment I will never forget. I had an idea that I had a chance. Nothing was for sure, but it worked out in the end.”
Kessinger and teammate Cooper Johnson were seen as the two guys with the best shot to have their name called on day one of the draft and Kessinger was ultimately the first to be selected.
“I am certainly excited for him,” head coach Mike Bianco said. “I am very proud of him.”