Brooks Brannon had an award-winning high school career with Randleman. (PJ Ward-Brown/Randolph Record)
RANDLEMAN – Catcher Brooks Brannon of Randleman was selected by the Boston Red Sox in the ninth round of baseball’s amateur draft Monday.
“It felt like a dream come true,” Brannon said Monday night. “Excited isn’t even the word. It was ecstasy.”
Brannon, 18, is enrolled at North Carolina, where he’ll play for the Tar Heels if he decides to pass on this pro opportunity.
Brannon was selected with the 279th pick overall during the second day of the three-day draft that concludes Tuesday. In that spot, the projected signing bonus is about $158,000, but he could be in line to sign for over slot because draft projections had him going in earlier rounds.
Brannon said he expects a decision about his next steps to be revealed this week, perhaps as early as Tuesday.
Pro scouts were regulars at Randleman games this season to watch Brannon. The Tigers posted a 33-1 record, winning the Class 2-A state championship for the second year in a row.
Brannon was the 20th catcher picked in the draft, and the first taken by the Red Sox. Only one other high school catcher was selected ahead of Brannon, with Lamar King Jr. out of Calvert Hall College High School in Maryland going in the fourth round to the San Diego Padres. King, a Georgia Tech signee, is a native of Canada.
Red Sox scout Spencer Brown had a good attendance rate at Randleman games.
“He was at so many games,” Brannon said. “Some of the scouts joked that he was there so much that he was going to get a locker (in the field house).”
Brannon watched the draft unfold on television from his Randleman home.
“There were definitely some anxious moments, for sure,” Brannon said. “God rewards people’s patience.”
Brannon’s draft status had been a curiosity for many of his now-former Randleman teammates.
“I feel like he’s going to get out there and do his thing and he’s going to work his butt to the majors,” said center fielder Braylen Hayes, a classmate. “That’s what I want to see.”
Randleman coach Jake Smith said Brannon did so much through his high school days that he’s in position to pick between two good choices.
“He has the hard part out of the way because he has a great opportunity at Carolina to go in and make an impact right away,” Smith said. “He’s in a win-win situation the way I look at it.”
Since Randleman won the state title in early June, Brannon stayed away from playing.
“Summer school at Carolina and then whatever happens after that,” he said following the championship series. “I’m just excited to get to Carolina.”
Brannon said his five weeks in Chapel Hill were worthwhile. He was limited to individual workouts, but he said he got better through those.
Brannon had gained scouts’ attention well before the record-setting 2022 season. His 20 home runs were the most in the nation among high school players this year, tying the single-season North Carolina record set by his father, Paul Brannon. He also set state records for a season with 91 runs batted in and 70 hits.