With the 309th pick of the 2016 Major League Baseball Draft, the Texas Rangers fulfilled a lifelong dream for senior Josh Merrigan as the Marietta native was selected in the 10th round on Friday evening. Merrigan's selection in the 10th round is the highest draft pick in Georgia Gwinnett baseball history.
"My whole life has led up to this moment," commented Merrigan. "This is what I've wanted since I first laced up my spikes, put on my glove, and grabbed a bat for the first time. My family and friends have rode this rollercoaster ride with me for the last four years, and it all comes to life now with being selected by Texas. I couldn't be happier to spend this special moment with them. I am very excited to play for the Rangers organization. Words cannot express the gratitude I have for them for giving me this opportunity. I'm eager to get on the field and prove that they made the right decision in drafting me."
Merrigan was a mainstay for the Grizzlies in the outfield as he started in 55 contests and played in 58 of GGC's 63 games. The center fielder was second in batting for the Grizzlies, boasting a .423 batting average and was a key contributor to GGC's program best 57 wins in 2016. In his 201 at bats, Merrigan drove in 59 runs on a GGC-best 85 hits and scored on 66 occasions. On the base paths, Merrigan racked up the second most steals in the NAIA, swiping 44 bases in 49 attempts.
"It is a tremendous honor to be selected in the MLB Draft," stated GGC baseball head coach Brad Stromdahl. "Josh is going to a great organization in the Rangers. Our coaches, staff, and team are very happy for Josh and his family and wish him the best as he moves into his professional career. We appreciate everything he has done and will continue to do for the Grizzly Baseball program and look forward to following his career for years to come."
Throughout the 2016 season, Merrigan received several individual awards and recognitions. On March 28, Merrigan was named the Association of Independent Institutions' Athlete of the Week. At the A.I.I. tournament banquet on May 6, Merrigan was tabbed as the Newcomer of the Year and also received a First Team selection on the All-A.I.I. Team.
For his efforts in the 2016 season, Merrigan also received NAIA All-American recognition as a First Team recipient.
Before finishing his collegiate career at Georgia Gwinnett, Merrigan also played at Chipola Junior College (Fla.) and with NCAA Division I squads Georgia State and North Carolina.
Merrigan is now the fifth Grizzly to be drafted by MLB organizations. He joins John Fidanza (2014, 23rd round, 690th pick), Zeke McGranahan (2014, 23rd round, 691st pick), Tyler Carpenter (2014, 25th round, 749th pick), and Christian Turnipseed (2015, 28th round, 853rd pick).
"Coming to Georgia Gwinnett ended up being the best decision I've ever made," Merrigan continued. "I cannot thank Coach Stromdahl enough for giving me the opportunity to be a Grizzly. His work, along with the rest of our coaching staff, cannot be given enough credit for the time each of them took to work with me and my teammates. My teammates accepted me as one of their own and made me feel at home. This is my favorite team that I've ever been a part of. I've made friendships that will last a lifetime."
To access the complete 2016 MLB Draft and all 40 rounds of action, click here.
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