Buddy Kennedy can’t wait for his first day of work.
A talented third baseman and recent graduate of Millville High School, Kennedy was taken in the fifth round of Major League Baseball’s First-Year Player Draft on Tuesday. The Arizona Diamondbacks picked the 6-foot, 200-pounder with the 142nd overall selection.
Kennedy plans to leave for Scottsdale, Arizona on Tuesday. He will finalize his deal and take a physical with eyes on playing his first game as a professional on Saturday for the team’s rookie affiliate in the Arizona League.
“It’s just so surreal. It still hasn’t hit me yet,” Kennedy said. “It’s a great organization with a great fan base. I’m very proud to be drafted and can’t wait to begin my career.
“They’re getting a great athlete. No matter how long the game is, I’m going to play my heart out and play hard. I’m going to give them my best, be a team player. I want to be a clutch player in clutch circumstances and be a great teammate. I’m excited to get to work and make my dream come true.”
A two-time All-South Jersey pick by the South Jersey Baseball Coaches Association, Kennedy batted .493 this spring for the Thunderbolts. He had nine doubles, three triples, six home runs, 25 runs scored and 25 RBIs.
Kennedy said he received a call from the Diamondbacks while at his grandfather’s house.
His grandfather, Don Money, played for the Phillies and Brewers and is still involved with player development for Milwaukee.
“They called in the fourth round and said they were going to take me in the sixth. I guess they wanted me bad because they took me in the fifth,” Kennedy said. “There were fist pumps in the air. Everyone was very happy.
“It’s just a dream come true.”
Kennedy said that his agent has been in talks with Arizona and the two parties are very close on solidifying a deal. The slot value for his draft position was $356,900 as a signing bonus.
Kennedy had a scholarship to play collegiately at North Carolina.
Unlike a lot of others in his position, Kennedy also had a wealth of experience in which to lean on during the draft and negotiating process. In addition to his grandfather, Kennedy is a close friend of former Millville standout and reigning American League MVP Mike Trout.
“They said for me just to relax and be patient with everything,” Kennedy said. “They told me it was going to happen, so I just had to wait for it. I really can’t thank them enough for their help in the process. I’m very blessed to have them so close to me.
“I’m excited and can’t wait to begin my career. … It’s a very exciting time for me.
Buddy Kennedy, Millville: The third baseman and North Carolina commit was taken in the fifth round (142 overall) by the Arizona Diamondbacks. He batted .493 with nine doubles, three triples, six home runs, 25 runs scored and 25 RBIs.
Davis Schneider, Eastern: The third baseman committed to Rutgers and was taken in the 28th round (849 overall) by the Toronto Blue Jays. He led the Vikings with a .444 batting average and collected 16 doubles, three triples, five home runs, 27 runs scored and 40 RBIs. He is Eastern’s all-time leader with 138 career hits.
Tyler Dearden, Rancocas Valley: Drafted as a center fielder, Dearden was selected in the 29th round (881 overall) by the Boston Red Sox. He batted .379 with seven doubles, three triples, two home runs and 15 RBIs. A Penn State commit.
Brad Dobzanski, Delsea: The right-hander was taken in the 39th round (1,176 overall) by the San Francisco Giants. He went 4-0 with a 1.35 ERA for the Crusaders, striking out 43 and walking six in 31 innings. He was the New Jersey Gatorade Player of the Year and is a Kentucky commit.
Shawn Semple, Paul VI/Univ. of New Orleans: A junior right-hander, Semple was taken in the 11th round (332 overall) by the New York Yankees.
Zach Warren, St. Augustine/Tennessee: A junior left-hander, Warren was selected by the Phillies in the 14th round (413 overall).
Troy Dixon, Egg Harbor Twp./St. John’s: A senior catcher, Dixon was taken by the Seattle Mariners in the 20th round (603 overall).
Donovan Casey, Sterling/Boston College: A junior outfielder, Casey was picked in the 20th round (610 overall) by the Los Angeles Dodgers.