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Julian Ridings selected in 2013 MLB Draft

04julianridingsJulian Ridings came to the attention of MLB scouts after his Valley League MVP season with the Waynesboro Generals in 2012. Now Ridings is on his way to pro baseball.

The Western Carolina junior outfielder was drafted in the 18th round by the Tampa Bay Rays. Ridings, a 6’2”, 170-pounder, hit .377 for the Catamounts in 2013 on the heels of his monster summer in Waynesboro in 2012, when he hit a league-leading .419 with seven homers, 39 RBIs and 15 stolen bases. Ridings also put up an otherworldly 1.111 OBS and led the Generals with 24 extra-base hits.

Hard to believe it now, but Ridings had only one D1 offer out of high school, and that was a chance to walk on at Western Carolina, where he started 18 games as a freshman and then moved into the starting lineup as a sophomore in 2012, when he hit .331.

In 2013, Ridings led Western Carolina to its first regular-season Southern Conference title in six years under coach Bobby Moranda, who gave the young man the chance that no one else was willing to give him.

“I’m thankful for Bobby Moranda and the coaching staff at Western Carolina for having faith in me, just like my family and friends in Shelby,” Ridings told his hometown paper, The Shelby (N.C.) Star.

Ridings told The Star that he’s likely to forego his senior season to sign with the Rays.

“There’s really no way I can improve my draft status (as a senior). Even if I go back and have a great season,” he said. “I’m ready to go play baseball every day.”

Then his job will be to repeat what he did at Western Carolina – and his summer in Waynesboro.

“I’ve still got to work every day on every aspect I can … every aspect of my swing. I want to get better in my two-strike approach and get my walk-strikeout ratio as close to 1-1 as I can … and keep working on my bunting as well,” Ridings said.