Former Fort Mill High School shortstop Brett Netzer was drafted Tuesday by the Boston Red Sox in the third round of the Major League Baseball Draft.
Netzer, a junior shortstop at UNC-Charlotte, was taken as the 101st pick overall and became the highest pick in the draft by a former Fort Mill player, eclipsing former high school teammate Kevin “K.J.” Woods. Woods was taken by the Marlins in the fourth round of the 2013 MLB Draft as the 112th overall pick. Netzer is the latest Fort Mill-based baseball player taken since the Oakland A’s selected pitcher Andrew Tomasovich in 2015.
“On draft day, I didn’t know what to expect,” Netzer said. “Getting drafted was a goal of mine.”
Netzer batted .342 in 58 games for UNCC this past season with five home runs and 44 RBI. He hit .371 in 78 games during his time at Fort Mill High and was named to the All-State team his freshman and senior years.
With roots in Maryland, Netzer has been a Baltimore Orioles fan most of his life, but said he admires the Red Sox organization.
“Boston was my number one choice,” he said. “I wasn’t disappointed. I was stoked to be picked.”
Former Jackets baseball coach Brad Mercer said he was proud to have been a part of Netzer’s development.
“Brett always played hard for me and his teammates,” Mercer said. “He was the guy that you always want on your side in that big situation or when the game was on the line. He left his mark at Fort Mill and I am sure he will do so in the pros. I am proud to say that I had the opportunity to coach him.”
According to the place in the draft in which he was selected, Netzer is in line to receive a contract worth $532,000. He is the third highest player ever drafted from UNCC, where his career average is .351 with 10 home runs and 98 RBI in 152 games. Netzer had a slugging percentage of .497 and an on-base percentage of .428.
One of his better attributes is fielding at the shortstop position. Netzer made just 24 errors in three years and had a .962 fielding percentage.
Netzer is the 13th player drafted by MLB that has ties to Fort Mill High and the 10th since 2001 when former catcher Charlie Lisk was drafted and seemed to open the flood gates for local talent. Only Tomasovich and Woods, who was subsequently traded by Miami to the Chicago White Sox organization, are still active and playing in the minor leagues for their respective teams.
Netzer will report to the Red Sox short-season Class A team in Lowell, Mass. as part of the New York-Penn League June 26. The Class A affiliate for Boston plays in Greenville as part of the South Atlantic League.
“The whole process is surreal,” he said. “I am happy to represent Fort Mill and to represent Charlotte.”
Mac Banks: firstname.lastname@example.org, @MacBanksFM