This story has been updated.
Sedalia native Gavin Jones, a product of Smith-Cotton High School and State Fair Community College, was picked Wednesday in the 27th round of the MLB Draft by the Oakland Athletics.
As the Roadrunners’ starting shortstop, Jones batted .325 with 12 home runs and an on-base-plus-slugging percentage of 1.041. Suiting up for a collegiate summer league game with the Sedalia Bombers, Jones was on a bus to Chillicothe when teammate Blake Ford — following the MLB Draft on his phone — broke the news. Moments later, Jones answered a call from A’s regional scout Steve Abney.
“He asked me if I would be interested,” Jones said. “Of course I was. … There wasn’t as much conversation as you might think.”
Jones worked out for an Oakland crosschecker before the draft and had been scouted earlier in the spring season. Despite the attention, Jones maintained an unassuming nature.
“I’ve seen a lot of people in the past, the same thing happened and they didn’t get drafted,” Jones said. “I didn’t want to get my hopes up too much.”
Roadrunners head coach Jud Kindle, who also coached Jones at Smith-Cotton, said he was proud of his work ethic and devotion to Sedalia. Jones was an all-district senior at Smith-Cotton, an all-region sophomore at SFCC and helped the Post 642 Sedalia Travelers win an American Legion Missouri State Baseball Tournament in 2016.
“He committed to the town,” Kindle said. “Where other kids went off to play showcase ball, he committed to home to play legion baseball. He could have easily played for showcase teams. When he could have committed to a ton of other colleges, he decided to join what we had going on here.
“I commend him for being a hometown guy.”
Before 29-year head coach Ken Henderson resigned Monday, Jones was committed to Southern Illinois in Carbondale. Jones said he will consider financial and academic decisions sometime after responding to scores of congratulatory texts and tweets.
“My whole goal for baseball was to get school paid for,” Jones said. “That’s what I’m going to ask for, and any more than that would be great. I never even thought about this happening.”
Oakland has a bonus pool of $5,605,900 for the first 10 rounds and last year awarded junior college draftees Matt Cross (Niagara County, New York) and Daniel Martinez (Riverside, California) a signing bonus of $40,000 each. Last year, 27th-round draftees received an average signing bonus of $35,000, while three draftees continued collegiate baseball careers at East Carolina University, California State University Fullerton, and Stetson University.
More than 50 players in 10 seasons have been drafted during or after their Sedalia Bombers tenure. Jones is the first Roadrunners draftee since the program rebooted in 2016-17 and first Smith-Cotton graduate drafted since the Milwaukee Brewers picked Josh Bishop from the University of Missouri in 1995.
MLB clubs picked 21 players from Missouri in the 2019 Draft, including five selections from the University of Missouri Tigers, two from Missouri State University and Mason Janvrin from the University of Central Missouri.
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @abagueros2.