The Pittsburgh Pirates Monday night selected former DCHS right handed pitcher Steven Jennings in the Major League Baseball Draft as the 42nd overall pick and sixth into the second round.
“This has been a dream come true. This has been a dream of mine to play professional baseball since I was old enough to know really what baseball was. It is absolutely a dream come true to make that dream a reality. Its awesome. I can’t really describe how I am feeling. I can’t tell you how thankful and grateful I am to be in the position I am in right now,” Jennings told WJLE Monday night after his selection was announced.
Jennings was a two-sport star at DCHS in baseball and football, as he was named the offensive MVP of his high school district as a junior. But he tore his ACL during a football game last September, an injury that ended his football season. Still he was named the football team's MVP his senior year. The torn ACL didn't keep Jennings off the mound, however, as he kept pitching while wearing a knee brace.
Jennings' fastball sits at 89-92 mph and touches 95 mph, and the 6-foot-2, 175-pounder could add more velocity as he develops. The athletic 18-year-old also throws a slider, curveball and changeup. Jennings posted a 0.54 ERA with 99 strikeouts in 51 2/3 innings for DCHS in his senior season.
Following his junior season, Jennings offered up a pledge to the Ole Miss Rebels and later signed a letter of intent, but with his selection in the draft he will now turn pro. ‘I am going to sign with the Pirates. We haven’t really worked out the details of when I am going to Pittsburgh to sign yet but we will probably work that out tomorrow or within the next couple of days for a time I can get up there and get all the paper work done,” Jennings told WJLE.
Jennings said he wasn’t surprised to have been taken so early in the second round. “We had said we thought it would be late in the first round or early in the second round so it was right around where we had pictured it being,” he continued.
His father Randy Jennings, said Steven will soon be leaving for Tampa, Florida to play his rookie ball. “Steven will get his orders probably later in the week as to when he is going to leave. They have told us it may be toward the end of the week. He will be going to their rookie ball league just outside of Tampa, Florida so he will be going there for the rest of the summer for his rookie ball,” said Randy Jennings.
As he celebrates reaching this important goal in his own life, Steven took a moment to offer up some words of encouragement for youngsters growing up in DeKalb County today.
“For any of the little boys or even little girls in DeKalb County, if you want to do something don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do it. Just work really hard. Stay humble and take all the opportunities you can and make the most of them. Don’t take anything for granted. You only get so many opportunities to do what you want with your life and you can’t let them slip by. Work really hard and stay grateful for everything you have and try to accomplish your goals,” Jennings concluded.