Dillon’s Jamie Callahan, Kwinton Smith Taken in MLB Draft

The Dillon Wildcats had two players taken in the Major League Baseball draft on Tuesday, as Jamie Callahan signed on with the Boston Red Sox and Kwinton Smith was picked by the Texas Rangers.

Jamie Callahan at his USC signing on November 9, 2011.

Callahan was drafted in the second round as the 87th overall pick. The right-handed pitcher had signed earlier in the year to play baseball at the University of South Carolina, but has put his college plans on hold to play for the Red Sox. Boston’s signing bonus for Callahan is $565,500.

The 17-year-old will be flying with his parents to Boston on Wednesday for a physical, and will be on his way to Fort Myers, Florida, afterwards to join Boston’s rookie league team, the Gulf Coastal League Red Sox. The GCL season begins on June 18 for the Red Sox.

Callahan, who was also recently named the Gatorade South Carolina Baseball Player of the Year, was ranked as Baseball America’s 144th best prospect, and has been ranked by multiple sources as one of the top 100 high school seniors. He is a two-time all-state selection and was also named the Region 8-2A Player of the Year, and was chosen to pitch in the North Carolina/South Carolina Select game in Myrtle Beach.

This season, Callahan went 7-1 with a save and an 0.89 ERA with 113 strikeouts in 50 innings. He hit five homers with an average of .408 and 32 RBI.

At 6-foot-3 and 210-pounds, Callahan’s fast ball has been clocked at a max speed of 95 and usually sits in the low 90s, according to his scouting report. The report also says that he has
“a good 12-6 curveball” and a promising changeup, though his slider is a bit inconsistent.

Callahan played in the Under Armour All-American game at Wrigley Field last year, and just prior to the draft, he demonstrated his pitching for the Texas Rangers and the St. Louis Cardinals. Scouts attended all of his starts this spring, and Callahan met with a total of 15 clubs.

Callahan graduated with a 3.93 GPA and is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He has also done volunteer work with the Special Olympics.

Callahan is the son of Greg and Sandra Callahan of Hamer. His grandparents are Leroy and Joann Callahan of Little Rock and Sonny and Sylvia Bethea of the Oakland community.

Kwinton Smith at his USC signing on February 1, 2012.

While Callahan was an expected draft, Kwinton Smith will face a tougher decision ahead. Smith was drafted in the 14th round and was the 456th pick and the only other high school player in the Pee Dee to be drafted.

Smith signed on to play football for the University of South Carolina and has already enrolled for the summer semester. He has until July 13 to decide whether to play baseball for the Rangers.

At 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds, Smith had a .438 average with four home runs and 13 RBI this season, while going 3-0 on the mound with a 1.27 ERA in 22 innings. He recorded 25 strikeouts.

Smith was chosen to play for the South in the upcoming Class 2A/3A North-South All-Star games on June 15 and 16.

In his senior year of football, Smith caught 34 passes for 564 yards and 10 touchdowns. Among many athletic honors, Smith was selected to play in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas and also played in the Offense-Defense All-American Game, and was named to the Region 8-2A All-Region team.

When Smith verbally committed to USC, he had discussed laying baseball for the Gamecocks in addition to football, and joined Dillon High’s basketball team midway through the 2011-2012 season.

Smith is the son of Milton Buie and Shirley Smith, and the grandson of Chad Smith, who Kwinton credits for getting him into football.

Callahan and Smith are the first two Dillon players to be drafted since L.A. Owens was taken by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2006, and Callahan is the highest drafted Pee Dee player since Hartsville’s Jordan Lyles was selected in the supplemental first round in 2008.

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