Connor Bennett, a 2015 Buford graduate, agreed to a contract with the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday. The right-handed Bennett was selected in the 34th round of the MLB Draft in June, but said at the time he expected to turn down the offer and honor his scholarship to play at West Virginia.
“The Reds came back with a strong offer,” Bennett said. “They gave me what I wanted, money-wise, and it’s always been my goal to play pro ball.
“I’m living the dream.”
Bennett said the Reds offered him $250,000 and agreed to pay for his college education if he chooses to pursue a degree when his baseball career is finished.
“I think it’s these guys dream is to play in the big leagues, but it has to be the right situation,” Buford head coach Tony Wolfe said. “The Reds got to him and were able to get things squared away for him to choose to forgo West Virginia.”
Bennett split time between being a starter and reliever in high school, but says he hopes the Reds will use him as a reliever.
“It says I’m a reliever on all my paperwork,” Bennett said. “But I’m still unsure of where the Reds want to play me.”
Bennett went 7-0 with seven saves, a 0.76 ERA and 107 strikeouts 55 1/3 innings last season while helping lead Buford to the Class AAAA state championship.
Bennett is already in Arizona playing Rookie League ball for the Reds.