Atlanta Braves select Southeast Missouri State baseball players Simmons, Moses in MLB draft

Thursday, June 7, 2012
Southeast Missouri State third baseman Trenton Moses high-fives third base coach Chris Cafalone after Moses hit a home run earlier this season. Moses was drafted by the Braves in the 26th round. (ADAM VOGLER)

Two Southeast Missouri State baseball players who attended local high schools got the news they were hoping for.

Pitcher Shae Simmons and third baseman Trenton Moses were selected during Wednesday's final day of the 40-round major league amateur draft. They are Southeast's 15th and 16th all-time draft picks.

Simmons, a Scott City High School graduate who recently completed his junior season at Southeast, was drafted in the 22nd round by the Braves. He was picked No. 689 overall.

"I was following the draft on my computer, and I decided to take a shower," Simmons said. "Then I got these text messages congratulating me, and then I saw it. I got a call from my adviser and then the Braves' scout. It was pretty neat."

Moses, an Advance High School graduate who was the OVC player of the year as a junior and senior and earned All-American honors following both seasons, was selected in the 26th round by the Braves. He was No. 809 overall.

Southeast Missouri State's Shae Simmons was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 22nd round of Wednesday's amatuer draft. He was pick No. 689 overall. (ADAM VOGLER)

"We were just watching the computer with my family, and we heard my name called on the Internet," Moses said. "It kind of came out of nowhere, but it was pretty exciting and it's cool to be drafted by the same team that Shae was."

Simmons went 7-4 with a 4.50 ERA while striking out 89 over 82 innings to earn second-team all-Ohio Valley Conference honors this year. He led the OVC in strikeouts per nine innings and tied for the league lead in wins during conference games.

Simmons, the 2010 OVC freshman of the year, recorded 10 saves in his first two collegiate seasons while primarily being used as the Redhawks' closer.

Although Simmons has the option of returning to Southeast for his senior season next year, he said that probably won't happen pending some discussions with his family later Wednesday night.

"I'll talk to my parents, but I want to start my career now," Simmons said. "I can always go back to school."

Baseball America ranked Simmons the 446th best draft prospect, which led to speculation he would go higher in the draft, perhaps even in the top 15 rounds, but the right-hander wasn't disappointed.

"Of course everybody wants to go higher, but I'm just happy to get a shot," he said.

Simmons said he expected to be selected by either the Braves or Cardinals.

"Those were the teams talking to me the most," he said. "I got a call from both this morning."

Moses, who put together two of the best back-to-back seasons in Southeast history, led the OVC in batting average (.408) and home runs (19) while ranking among the top five in RBIs (61) and runs scored (58) this year. He led the nation in on-base percentage (.531) and slugging percentage (.761).

Moses said the Braves were among the teams he had the most contact with before the draft, so he was not surprised they picked him. But he really didn't know what to expect.

"I knew they were interested, but nobody said anything, so I really had no idea when I'd be drafted," Moses said. "I was pretty nervous, but it worked out. I'm just glad to get the opportunity.

"It's a pretty big opportunity. I just have to work hard and see where it takes me."

Simmons and Moses said more details still have to be worked out, but they expect to be assigned to one of the Braves' minor league affiliates -- perhaps the same one -- in the next few days.

"We've been playing ball together on teams since high school," Simmons said about he and Moses. "It would be great to be on the same team again."

Southeast coach Mark Hogan said he was excited for Simmons and Moses but disappointed that a third Southeast player was not drafted.

Second-team all-OVC shortstop Kenton Parmley, who completed his collegiate eligibility this year like Moses, had been considered a potential draft choice.

Parmley, a native of Goreville, Ill., was the OVC's fifth-leading hitter (.363) as a senior while tying Moses for the team lead with 58 runs scored and ranking second with 13 homers.

Parmley, who was a four-year starter like Moses, broke several career school records and compiled a 47-game hitting streak that tied for the third-longest in NCAA Division I history.

"I'm real happy for Trenton and Shae. They both deserve an opportunity," Hogan said. "I'm disappointed about Kenton."

There still is a chance Parmley could sign as a free agent with a major league organization.

"I'm sure he'll be invited to several workouts," Hogan said. "He deserves a chance."

Besides Simmons and Moses, eight other OVC players were drafted Wednesday after two were picked Tuesday.

Selected Wednesday were Tennessee-Martin pitcher Alec Mills (22nd round, No. 673 overall, Royals); Eastern Illinois shortstop Ryan Dineen (25th round, No. 759, Astros); Jacksonville State third baseman Sam Eberle (25th round, No. 778, Giants); Austin Peay pitcher Zach Toney (26th round, No. 801, White Sox); Austin Peay outfielder Michael Blanchard (30th round, No. 928, Giants); Eastern Kentucky pitcher Anthony Bazzani (31st round, No. 942, Orioles); Tennessee Tech pitcher Matthew Shepherd (31st round, No. 945, Padres); and Jacksonville State pitcher Daniel Watts (32nd round, No. 993, Diamondbacks).

The 12 OVC players drafted is one off the conference-record 13 selected in 2010.

"To have that many players drafted, it says a lot about our conference," Hogan said.

One Southeast Missouri high school player, Kennett senior Adam Grantham, was drafted in the 32nd round by the Braves. He was the No. 989 overall selection. He already signed with Arkansas State.

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