Eleven players who graduated from high school in Indiana were chosen in the 2022 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, which concluded its three-day run in Los Angeles Tuesday, July 19. There were 20 rounds and 616 players selected. Indiana University right-handed pitcher Jack Perkins (Kokomo High School graduate) was picked in the fifth round (154th overall) by the Oakland Athletics. Ball State University left-hander Tyler Schweitzer (Hamilton Southeastern) was chosen in the fifth round (161 overall) by the Chicago White Sox. University of Louisville right-hander Jared Poland (Indianapolis Cathedral) was taken in the sixth round (172 overall) by the Miami Marlins. University of Connecticut right-hander Austin Peterson (Chesterton) went in the ninth round (271st overall) to the Cleveland Guardians. Purdue University left-hander Jackson Smeltz (McCutcheon) was picked in the 10th round (300th overall) by the San Diego Padres. Indiana U. right-hander Bradley Brehmer (Decatur Central) was drafted in the 12th round (347th overall) by the Baltimore Orioles. Ivy Tech Northeast Community College right-hander Matt Peters (Fort Wayne Dwenger) was picked in the 12th round (353rd overall) by the Chicago Cubs. Righty-swinging Georgia Tech shortstop Tim Borden II (Providence) was chosen in the 16th round (493rd overall) by the Houston Astros. Evansville North High School switch-hitting shortstop Cameron Decker (a University of Central Florida commit) was drafted in the 18th round (555th overall) by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Westfield High School right-hander Gage Stanifer (a University of Cincinnati commit) was picked in the 19th round (578th overall) by the Toronto Blue Jays. Indiana U. right-hander Reese Sharp (University High) was selected in the 20th round (587th overall) by Baltimore.
Zyon Avery is known for taking several tools with him to the baseball field. A self-described “utility” player, the 6-foot-3, 225-pounder from Indianapolis grew up with catcher as his primary position, but he has also been used as a corner infielder/outfielder and more. “I move very well for my size,” says Avery, 21. “I move my feet and have very fluid hands. It allows me to play a lot of different positions. In travel ball and high school I played all over the place. “Coaches take advantage of my athletic ability.” Avery was a varsity starter at third base his first two years at Ben Davis High School and the top catcher his last two. He also saw time at shortstop and on the mound. The versatile athlete will call a new place his baseball home when he reports this weekend to NAIA member Louisiana State University Shreveport. He landed with the Brad Neffendorf-coached Pilots after spending the 2021 season at National Junior College Athletic Association affiliate Parkland College (Champaign, Ill.). Making most of his starts at first base, the righty swinger hit .355 (44-of-124) with 13 home runs, one triple, nine doubles, 45 runs batted in, 43 runs scored, four stolen bases and a 1.245 OPS (.487 on-base percentage plus .758 slugging average) for a team that went 36-17 under Cobras head coach Jon Goebel. Not able to get the credits to transfer to an NCAA Division I school, Avery decided to follow former Parkland teammate Trevor Burkhart to LSU Shreveport. “It’s the best fit for my family,” says Avery, the son of Dana and Kimberly and older brother of Jahmir (15). The Averys moved to Indy’s west side when Zyon was 6. Dana Avery is a maintenance, repair and operations buyer for Keihin. Kimberly Avery is a cargo shipment organizer for BDP International. Jahmir Avery is a freshman basketball player at Ben Davis, where Zyon graduated in 2018. Avery earned four baseball letters and was a three-year captain at Ben Davis. He was an Under Armour Preseason All-American and rated as the No. 2 catcher in the state of Indiana by Prep Baseball Report as a senior. As a junior, he led the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference with 22 doubles and 30 walks, earned All-Marion County and All-State honors and was named a Perfect Game Underclass All-American. As a sophomore, he was chosen as a Perfect Game Underclass All-American. After playing at Ben Davis — the last three seasons for Giants head coach David Bear — Zyon went to Ohio University where Edgewood High School (Ellettsville, Ind.) graduate Rob Smith was Bobcats head coach. Appearing in 25 games, Avery hit .192 with a .591 OPS (.283 on-base percentage plus .308 slugging average) as a freshman in 2019 and redshirted in 2020 following shoulder surgery. For a few months he was bound for Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Fla., but wound up at Parkland. Avery played for the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League’s Southern Ohio Copperheads (Athens, Ohio) in 2019, spent the summer of 2020 rehabilitating and split 2021 between a temporary contract with the Propsect League’s Danville (Ill.) Dans and the Kernels Collegiate League (Normal, Ill.). Born in Los Angeles, Zyon began playing at Ben Davis Little League after moving to the Indianapolis area. He played travel ball for Tony Page and the Indiana Mustangs at 10U and 11U, John Keller, Mike Wade and the Indiana Bulls at 12U to 15U, Eric McGaha and the Indiana Outlaws at 16U, Trent Hanna and the Cincinnati Spikes at 17U and Jeremy Johnson and the Evansville Razorbacks at 18U. Avery, who between redshirting and COVID-19 has three remaining years of college eligibility, was a Physical Activity and Sport Coaching major at Ohio. That degree was not offered at Parkland. He says he will begin at LSUS in General Studies. He turns 22 in October.
Logan Grigsby has seen many parts of the world and baseball has been his helped punch his ticket.
Born in Riverside, Calif., on July 11, 1995, Grigsby attended Rim of the World High School in Arrowhead Lake, which is near San Bernadino and 80 miles east of Los Angeles.
“Going into my senior year of high school I had no idea of the processes for recruiting,” says Grigsby “My dad was my scout. He researched showcases.”
After attending a showcase in northern California, sending out a video produced by his father (Brock Grigsby) and meeting financial planner who specializes in finding places to play, Logan was sent a list of college baseball candidates that fit his profile.
I really wanted to play baseball
“If I had just wanted to go to college, I might have went to school in California,” says Grigsby, who narrowed his preferences to Gordon College in Wenham, Mass., Messiah University in Mechanicsburg, Pa., and Grace College in Winona Lake, Ind.
Gordon and Messiah are NCAA Division III schools and do not offer athletic scholarship money. NAIA-affiliated Grace does.
Grigsby visited to all three campuses. Though it was a cold, wintry day in northern Indiana, he came away impressed by Grace and the right-handed pitcher joined the Lancers.
Eric Gonzalez recruited Grigsby, but was not still on campus when the Californian joined the Lancers.
A versatile player, he was a pitcher, shortstop and center fielder in high school.
At Grace, Grigsby was a valuable pinch runner at the beginning of his career who worked his way to one of the top pitchers by the end.
In all, he played in 118 games. He made 50 mound appearances (24 as a starter) and won nine games while striking out 135 and walking 65 in 148 2/3 innings. All five of his complete games came in his final two seasons with the Lancers.
Through a conversation between the Bombers general manager Tony Gonzalez and former big league pitcher Mike Hartley, who played and coached in Germany, Grigsby found himself pitching professionally in that country.
While at Grace, he also became familiar with Tom Roy, who wore various hats during Grigsby’s time on the Grace campus, including pitching coach, team chaplain and mentor. Roy was co-head coach at Grace with Ryan Roth in 2019. Roth was made the lone head coach for 2020.
“Tom is awesome,” says Grigsby of Roy. “He’s been a huge influence in my life.”
“God was good enough to put these people in my life,” says Grigsby. “It just made sense. I always wanted to live in Germany. Growing up, I had visited there. I have a lot of family there — all on my mom’s side.”
Grigsby had planned to return to Germany for the spring and summer when Nettuno Baseball Club 1945 in the Italian Baseball League made him a generous contract offer to join Nettuno’s lanciatori (pitchers) and get a chance to log more innings than he did the previous two summers.
He is the lone American on the team.
As was the case in Germany, Nettuno pays for Grigsby’s flights, lodging (he lives in a flat with three other players) and the use of a car.
Games tend to be on weekends and maybe once during the week. This has given him time to take the train to Rome (Nettuno, also in the Lazio region, is 37 miles or 60 kilometers south) for sightseeing.
The beach in Nettuno — a resort town on the Tyrrhenian Sea — is a 5-minute walk from from Grigsby’s flat.
Grigsby signed with Nettuno in February, returned home for brother Leif’s wedding and then came the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown.
He finally arrived in Italy on July 1.
“Of course there were doubts,” says Grigsby. “The season should’ve started the first week of April.”
While waiting a phone message, Grigsby moved to Santa Barbara, Calif., moved in with childhood friend Jacob Ochs and worked as a carpenter for his father’s cousin, Byron Beck.
“It was the ideal situation,” says Grigsby. “I had a job, a private gym and a personal throwing partner.”
The Italian season started Saturday, July 18.
“Once-in-a-lifetime has turned into a regular occurrence for me,” says Grigsby.
When Grigsby played in Germany, family and friends would would did not know the language ask him to translate. He does not speak Italian. He points them to tools like Google Translate.
Two of his roommates in Italy are Dominicans, including Ariel Soriano.
“I might learn more Spanish than Italian,” says Grigsby.