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Four Little League Baseball® World Series Alumni Selected in First Two Rounds of 2017 MLB Draft

Four Little League Baseball® World Series Alumni Selected in First Two Rounds of 2017 MLB Draft

Known for his 2011 LLBWS walk-off, Nick Pratto leads draft class with 14th overall selection.

LL Players Drafted MLB

With a first-round (14th overall) selection of Nick Pratto to the Kansas City Royals, and a trio of second-round selections in Kevin Merrell (33rd overall, Oakland Athletics), Drew Ellis (44th overall, Arizona Diamondbacks), and Hagen Danner (61st overall, Toronto Blue Jays), four Little League Baseball® World Series graduates got to live out their dreams on Monday night as they were selected in the first two rounds of the 2017 Major League Baseball Draft. Never before have more Little League Baseball World Series graduates been selected in the first two rounds of the MLB Draft.

More than 50 confirmed Little League Baseball World Series graduates have gone on to play Major League Baseball and there are 23 confirmed members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame who have played Little League®. Here is a look at the four LLBWS graduates who were selected in the first two rounds of this year’s draft:



Nick Pratto

2011 LLBWS – Ocean View Little League (Huntington Beach, Calif.)

Nick Pratto, most well-known for his game-winning hit in the 2011 Little League Baseball World Series to lead Ocean View Little League to a 2-1 walk-off win over Japan, was recently selected as a first-round, 14th overall pick by the Kansas City Royals. Since his time in Williamsport, Pratto has gone on to build an impressive resume at Huntingdon Beach High School.

Pratto finished the 2011 LLBWS second on his team (only behind fellow draftee, Hagen Danner) with a .429 batting average through six games, picking up nine hits while driving in a team-leading seven runs. Pratto also pitched in four games for Ocean View Little League, finishing the tournament with a 0.00 ERA through 12.1 innings of work while striking out an impressive 21 batters.

 


Kevin Merrell

2008 LLBWS – Citrus Park Little League (Tampa, Fla.)

Named the 33rd overall pick with a second-round selection by the Oakland Athletics, Kevin Merrell made his mark on the big stage at the 2008 Little League Baseball World Series when he led Citrus Park Little League to the United States semifinals where his squad fell to the eventual champions from Hawaii. Since his time in Williamsport, Merrell has gone on to a highly successful career as a shortstop for the University of South Florida, leading the Bulls to the 2017 NCAA Regionals.

Merrell finished the 2008 LLBWS with a team-leading .500 batting average after picking up two doubles and a pair of home runs while driving in five runs. On the mound, Merrell was able to record six strikeouts in 5.1 innings of work.

 


Drew Ellis

2008 LLBWS – Jeffersonville (Ind.) Little League

Picked 44th overall by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the second round, Drew Ellis was the star of the Jefferson (Ind.) Little League team in the 2008 Little League Baseball World Series, the same World Series that fellow draftee Kevin Merrell played in. Ellis went on to strike out and impressive 11 batters in five hitless innings. Since the 2008 LLBWS, Ellis has gone on to play an impressive career at the University of Louisville where he has helped lead the Cardinals to the 2017 College World Series in Omaha.

Ellis finished the 2008 LLBWS with an impressive 18 strikeouts in 9.2 innings of work as the ace for the Great Lakes Region representatives, while also picking up a pair of hits, including a double, at the plate in his three-game stay in Williamsport.



Hagen Danner

2011 LLBWS – Ocean View Little League (Huntington Beach, Calif.)

Hagen Danner, Little League and High School teammate of first-round pick Nick Pratto, was selected 61st overall by the Toronto Blue Jays. Rarely have two Little League Baseball World Series teammates ever been selected in the same MLB Draft.

Danner was a dominant force at the plate for Ocean View Little League in the 2011 Little League Baseball World Series, picking up a home run in the 2-1 World Series championship victory over Japan. Danner also had the game of his Little League career in a game against Keystone Little League when he struck out an impressive 12 batters in 5.1 scoreless innings to send his team to the U.S. Championship.

Danner led Ocean View Little League in the 2011 LLBWS with a .500 batting average after picking up 11 hits, including two doubles, a triple, and a pair of home runs while working two walks and driving in three runs. On the mound, Danner went 2-0 with 17 strikeouts through 8.1 innings of work.