On June 15, less than 24 hours after getting the call, Zach Warren was as cool as a cucumber, or the other side of the pillow.
“I felt pretty confident (I’d get picked),” he said. “It’s exciting. I’m taking it all in with my family.”
“It” was Warren’s being picked in the 4th round (413th overall) in this year’s Major League Baseball Draft last week. By his home team, the Philadelphia Phillies, to boot.
The 6’5 lefthander from Vineland, a 2014 Saint Augustine Prep graduate, recently completed his junior year at the University of Tennessee. For the Volunteers this past season, the 21-year-old appeared in 18 games, starting in 11 of them, and went 2-5 with one save, a 6.31 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 51.1 innings.
Three years ago, Warren was drafted out of high school by the Pittsburgh Pirates but elected to play college ball. Now, he’s ready for the majors.
“I’m happy for him. It’s been his lifelong dream,” said Michael Bylone, the head baseball coach at Saint Augustine Prep, who coached Warren at the Richland school.
Bylone has known Warren a while, beginning when the coach’s daughter was a classmate of Warren’s at Saint Mary’s Elementary School in Vineland.
“On the diamond, he was always competitive. Off of it, he was an extremely smart person, an honors student, and a genuine, fine young man.”
Last Sunday, Warren reported to Clearwater, Florida, to begin his professional career. The hard work and persistence paid off, with another benefit of now being a Phillie.
“I didn’t have to buy any new hats,” he joked.