Smoker drafted 31st overall by Washingto | Sport


Click here for an audio excerpt from a phone interview with Josh Smoker.

Click here for a link to the Major League Baseball draft page.

Calhoun High ace Josh Smoker missed having his name announced by Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig during the televised first round of Thursday’s first-year player draft.

But he didn’t have worry much longer.

The 6-foot-3, 190-pound southpaw was chosen by the Washington Nationals as the 31st pick overall and the first selection of the supplemental first round.

“It’s a great honor to be drafted,” Smoker said after receiving the news. “The Nationals are a great program, a great baseball team and have a lot of young talent that they like to move up fast through their ranks.”

Although numerous outlets had him predicted to go in the first round, Smoker was patient while the top 30 picks came and went.

“That’s tough sitting there and having to watch all of those other names getting called,” he said. “But it happens and I think it all worked out in the end.”

The first round of the annual event was televised on ESPN2 for the first time Thursday, giving the athlete some name recognition as analysts referred to his availability.

“They kept bringing my name up which is good,” Smoker said. “There were people out there who thought I could have gone a little bit higher but, like I said before, they’re not the people who pick the players, the teams do.”

And that logic was evident by the manner in which Smoker was chosen.

“It was kind of a surprise,” he said of being picked by the National League club based in the nation’s capitol.

“There was a team (with a pick) shortly after the Nationals who wanted me pretty bad and they were going to take me and the Nationals just kind of came out and said, ‘We’re taking you.’”

Smoker said it was about five to 10 minutes later when his name was announced as the 31st pick of the 2007 Draft.

“We talked to them a little bit and the next thing I know, I’m being drafted by the Washington Nationals.”

Smoker was a major contributor to Calhoun’s success on the diamond beginning with his sophomore season in 2005 when he helped the Jackets win their second state championship of the decade.

This past season, the lefty went unbeaten once again, compiling a 16-0 record. In the regular season alone, Smoker struck out an unprecedented 136 batters and posted an ERA of 0.69, leading a team that combined for an ERA of 1.73.

“Overall, I’m pretty happy with it,” Smoker said. “I look forward to seeing what happens.”