The 2009 Major League Baseball draft is underway and there have been a few players taken with somewhat local connections.
For starters, North Carolina had three players drafted in the first three rounds, including junior pitcher Alex White who went to Cleveland in the 15th pick of the first round. White is a D.H. Conley graduate and the guy who helped beat Charles B. Aycock and current UNC teammate Garrett Davis in the first round of the NCHSAA 3-A playoffs in 2006.
White was drafted in the 14th round out of Conley but chose to go to UNC where he has helped the Tar Heels to three College World Series appearances.
His Carolina teammate, center fielder Dustin Ackley, was taken second overall by Seattle, which drafted UNC second baseman Kyle Seager in the third round (82nd overall). Ackley, UNC's first three-time All-American, is the highest Carolina player drafted since Paul Shuey was taken No. 2 in 1992.
Ackley and White are UNC's 10th and 11th first-round picks.
Another player with UNC connections is Georgia high schooler Donavan Tate, who was taken third by San Diego. Tate has signed a football scholarship with Carolina but I'm thinking he'll never set foot on campus. Then again, his dad, Lars Tate, was a University of Georgia star in the 1980s so football is big in that family.
The only other player with North Carolina connections drafted in the first three (and first two compensation rounds) is High Point Wesleyan Christian Academy's William Myers, who went to Kansas City in round 3 with the 91st overall pick.
The one player's name I haven't seen yet is Rocky Mount High School's Brian Goodwin, who was thought to be an early round pick. NorthCarolinaiHigh.com reports Goodwin is playing this summer for a team in Amelia, Ohio. He has signed to play baseball at UNC but obviously is doubtful to join the Heels if he goes high enough.