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This week: MLB draft may have local ties
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This week is big for players looking to make the jump to Major League Baseball, as the amateur draft begins Monday and wraps up Wednesday and can include up to 50 rounds.

Lakeview Academy graduate Ralston Cash, a pitcher, is the top high school prospect from this area, and says he could be selected between the second and fourth rounds. This season, Cash was the Region 8-A Player of the Year, with a 4-4 record, 2.68 ERA and 79 strikeouts. Cash, who is signed to play at the University of Georgia, hit .459 with 11 home runs and 38 RBIs this season. He was The Times’ 2009 Area Baseball Player of the Year.

Cash was throwing for scouts up to the last minute before the draft, including a late flight to Los Angeles on Sunday to throw for the Dodgers’ scouting director. Last week, Cash flew to Seattle for a pitching tryout at Safeco Field for the Mariners.

He’s also been through pitching workouts more locally with the Kansas City Royals, Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers and Saint Louis Cardinals.

Also looking to be drafted is Georgia Tech outfielder Chase Burnette, a Buford High graduate. This year, Burnette, a junior, emerged as an offensive force with a .346 average, 19 doubles, 16 home runs and 64 RBIs for the Yellow Jackets.

Burnette is ranked as the No. 77 overall prospect by the Baseball Draft Report.

Truett-McConnell College sophomore outfielder Terrell Jones is also listed as a Top 250 prospect.

Other high school prospects that may get drafted are Gainesville High’s K.J. McAllister, a Coastal Carolina University signee, and Jefferson infielder Jake Fields, a Middle Georgia signee.

For a player to be draft eligible, they must be either a high school senior, completed their third year of college or 21 years old, or a college senior. All junior college players are also eligible to be drafted. University of Georgia left-handed senior pitcher Alex McRee, a Chestatee High graduate, is also available to be drafted again.

ATLANTA BRAVES: The Braves’ 11-game road swing continues today with the first contest of a three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Today, Derek Lowe (8-4, 4.44 ERA) will pitch for Atlanta against Arizona’s Dan Haren (5-4, 4.83). Lowe has won each of his last three outings, and has allowed two earned runs or less in each of those victories.

Last Wednesday, Lowe allowed only one earned run in eight innings against the Philadelphia Phillies. After the series at Arizona, the Braves travel to Minnesota to face the Twins for the final three games of the road trip.

GWINNETT BRAVES: The Triple-A G-Braves wrap up a four-game series against the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees today at Coolray Field. Following that, Gwinnett goes on the road for four games at the Norfolk Tides, followed by two games at the Durham Bulls to wrap up the week.

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