Wilson’s loss is New York’s gain.
Kramer Sneed, who just finished his junior season at Barton College and had been a member of the summer collegiate Wilson Tobs starting rotation, is headed for New York after signing with the world champion New York Yankees on Tuesday evening.
Sneed was taken in the 32nd round in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft earlier this month.
“It’s feels really good,” Sneed said by telephone Tuesday night while signing autographs at the Tobs game in Fleming Stadium. “I’m pretty exciting that we finally got the paperwork done, and I’m excited about taking off for Staten Island on Thursday.”
Sneed said he will fly into Newark, N.J., on Thursday and immediately become a member of the Staten Island Yankees of the short-season New York-Penn League, which runs from June to August.
The Yankees are at the Brooklyn Cyclones on Thursday night and the 6-foot-3, 185-pound left-hander will be in uniform.
“I think I’ll be out of the bullpen to start with, so I’ll be ready to throw Thursday night, if needed,” he said. “I think they’ll probably give me a night off to get acclimated.”
Sneed, who was signed by Yankees area scout Scott Lovekamp, was delighted the Yankees met his contract demand, which was a $30,000 signing bonus and paying for the remainder of his two semesters of college.
“That’s exactly what I asked for and I’m pretty excited,” Sneed said, noting he wasn’t sure if he was going to get it since he was a middle-round draft pick.
But the Yankees’ decision to give Sneed what he asked for assured him they wanted him.
“And that’s the biggest thing I wanted,” he said. “I wanted the team that drafted me to value me and want me to be a part of their organization.”
Sneed becomes the first Bulldog to sign a pro contract since Dennis Blackmon played in the Boston Red Sox organization in 2008. Sneed is the first Barton player to be drafted since Mark Raynor was taken by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 13th round of the 1995 draft.
Barton head coach Todd Wilkinson was also happy to hear the news that Sneed was heading into professional baseball despite the fact the Bulldogs will certainly miss their No. 1 starter. Sneed was 6-3 with a 4.04 ERA and 71 strikeouts in 75 2/3 innings this spring.
“He got a great job opportunity and that’s what it boils down,” Wilkinson said. “He’s going into a business that’s got great upside if you perform. … It’s an entry-level job in the beginning and you’ve got to be able to perform.”
Wilkinson pointed out that one of Sneed’s best qualities as a player at Barton might not necessarily serve him well in professional baseball.
“Kramer’s always been coachable and he’s always wanted to please people. Kramer’s a team player and always has been for us,” Wilkinson said. “As he works his way through the organization, he’s going to have to learn to look out for himself first.”
For the Tobs, Sneed led the team with an 0.79 ERA, which was third-best in the CPL, while going 3-2 with one save in seven appearances.
“As an organization, we’re extremely excited for Kramer,” Tobs General Manager Ben Jones said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity and something we’re sure he’s dreamed of for a long time. We were happy to have him here with the Tobs in the short time we had him.”
Sneed, a Winterville native and a graduate of Greenville Christian Academy, said he will miss Wilson.
“Oh, definitely! I’m going to miss all the people at Barton. From the teammates I’ve had and the friends I’ve made and the coaches who have helped me,” he said. “I’m never going to forget the town of Wilson and the good times I’ve had and the people I’ve met here.”
Story contributed by Wilson Times Sports Editor Paul Durham