The Chipley native and Florida Gators’ right-handed pitcher Karsten Whitson was selected by Boston in the 11th round of the Major League Baseball Draft on Saturday. He was the highest-drafted player with area ties during the third and final day of the event. It also marked the third time he was chosen in the draft.
Whitson went ninth overall to San Diego in 2010 out of Chipley only to turn down more than $2 million to pitch for Florida. He missed 2013 with a shoulder injury and was taken in the 37th round by Washington. The latest selection is likely his last, but he has the option to return to Florida with a redshirt year of eligibility.
He appeared in 14 games with nine starts for Florida this season. The former 15th-ranked prep prospect was 1-1 with 21 strikeouts and 23 walks in 37 1/3 innings for the Gators. When healthy, he’s as dominant as any pitcher, as evidenced by his 8-1 record and 92 strikeouts as a freshman.
Whitson was one of eight area prospects chosen on Saturday. Four from Chipola, Ian Rice, Palmer Betts, Tucker Simpson and Taylor Lewis, and two from Gulf Coast, Christian Williams and Max Bartlett, also were drafted. And David Trexler capped his college career with a selection.
Trexler was the next to go in the 17th round to the Chicago White Sox. The right-handed pitcher finished his senior season at North Florida with six wins and he also pitched collegiately at Gulf Coast and Florida State while competing for Bay and Mosley on the prep level.
Rice, a catcher, was next to Boston in the 21st round. The final three Indians are pitchers, with Betts, taken by Pittsburgh in the 36th, Simpson drafted by Baltimore in the 39th, and Lewis, a Florida signee, going to Colorado in the 40th and final round. Williams, who was an all-state first-teamer at designated hitter and also played first base, was chosen by Miami in the 28th round. The round also had marquee picks of Mariano Rivera, the son of the New York Yankees’ great, and Johnny Manziel, who also was selected in the first round of the National Football League Draft. Bartlett, a shortstop, rounded out GC’s picks in the 36th round to Cleveland.