On Sunday night, Gavin Cross made history. The Virginia Tech outfielder was selected with the ninth pick in the 2022 MLB Draft by the Kansas City Royals, making him the highest-ever pick in school history.
Later in the evening, the Minnesota Twins picked Tanner Schobel with the No. 68 pick during Competitive Balance Round B. It’s a supplemental round that rewards low-revenue and small-market MLB clubs with additional draft selections. As a result, it’s the first time in program history that two Hokies were selected in the first 100 picks in the same draft.
Cross surpassed Joe Saunders, a left-handed pitcher in 2002 who went 12th in the draft, for the highest Virginia Tech player ever picked. A three-year starter in Blacksburg from Bristol, Tenn., Cross arrived in the COVID year that was 2020 where he posted a .793 OPS in 16 games. That set up a breakout year in 2021 where he hit .345 with 11 home runs and an OPS of 1.035.
His draft stock surged even more last summer with Team USA, where he hit .455 in 11 games. Against some of the best non-draft eligible pitchers in the country, Cross thrived, including hitting a go-ahead grand slam in front of his family in Bristol.
In Tech’s record 2022 season, he and Schobel helped lift the Hokies to a 45-10 record, an ACC regular season title, a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament and the program’s first-ever NCAA Super Regional berth. He had some clutch hits throughout the year, few more important than his leadoff home run in the seventh inning in Sunday’s game at Virginia, which clinched the series.
Cross continued to rise up the draft boards, hitting .328 with a career-high 17 homers. His OPS was a staggering 1.071 that included 39 extra-base hits of 80 total knocks this season. He stole 12 bags, too, and played center field really well after shifting from right. His versatility should serve him well in the pros.
Cross leaves Blacksburg with multiple All-ACC Team (2021, 2022) and All-American awards. He has a slotted bonus of $5,200,200 and has until Aug. 1 to sign with the Royals.
A Williamsburg, Va. native, Schobel barely beat out Chad Pinder (No. 71 overall in 2013) for the program’s highest-ever selection among shortstops. In two seasons in Blacksburg, Schobel made his mark. He hit .279 with seven home runs in 2021 before bursting on the scene in the Cape Cod League over the summer, where he hit .302 in 29 games.
Schobel had a breakout year in 2022, batting .362 with a team-high 19 home runs and a team-high 74 RBI. Like Cross, he was a Golden Spikes Award semifinalist, and he played a huge role in Virginia Tech’s postseason run. His slugging percentage and on-base percentage both jumped up to .689 and .445 in the spring, and he had a .954 fielding percentage at shortstop.
Schobel earned multiple All-American honors in 2022 and an All-ACC award, and he has until Aug. 1 to sign with the Twins. His slot bonus is $1,001,500.
A Virginia Tech signee in the 2022 recruiting class, Nick Morabito was selected by the New York Mets with the No. 75 pick in the MLB Draft on Sunday. A McLean, Va. native, Morabito attended Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C. and is primarily a shortstop.
He was named the 2021-22 D.C. Gatorade Player of the Year after hitting .545 with 10 doubles, six triples and 12 home runs. Morabito has a slot bonus of $873,300 and has until Aug. 1 to sign with the Mets, though there is still the chance he ventures to Blacksburg and plays a few years for the Hokies.