Former Richmond Hill standout Jackson Finley has until next Tuesday to decide whether or not he wants to pursue a career in professional baseball or return to Georgia Tech where he enjoyed a breakout season this spring.
Finley was an eighth-round pick of the Oakland A’s in the recent major league draft after starring for the Yellow Jackets as both a pitcher and every day position player.
Oakland has signed its first seven picks and eight of its 20 selections. Finley, who has already earned his degree, has two years eligibility remaining with Tech thanks to being redshirted and having a COVID year. He has not returned a text or voice message regarding his plans.
While Finley has much to ponder— the eighth-round pick has a slotted value of $218,300 although the A’s have the option of going higher or lower—it appears Bryan Eichhorn’s career in pro baseball may be at an end.
Eichhorn, like Finley, was an outstanding pitcher for the Wildcats and went on to become an All-Sun Belt Conference performer at Georgia Southern before being a ninth-round pick of the Cleveland Guardians in 2018.
Due to COVID which caused the minor leagues shut down for a season and then Tommy John surgery Eichhorn’s career was never able to gain any footing. Last August he was released by the Guardians.
Eichhorn signed with the Gastonia, N.C., Honey Hunters of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball last May 25, but never appeared in a game before being released on June 6. The 6-foot-1, 225-pound righthander will be 26 years old on Aug. 15.
Kevin Matthews, another former Wildcats pitcher, is also out of baseball after being picked in the first round of the 2011 draft by the Texas Rangers. A 5-11 lefthander who had committed to Virginia last played in 2019 when he pitched for the Milwaukee Milkmen in an independent league.
After dealing with a COVID season as a freshman and then undergoing Tommy John surgery Finley bloomed this spring when given the opportunity to see action.
The 6-5, 225-pound righthander was Tech’s all-important Sunday pitcher and despite being on a limited pitch count he had a 2-4 record with a 6.47 ERA in a hitter’s league with 42 strikeouts in 48.2 innings.
As a first baseman/designated hitter he became one of the top hitters in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Finley hit .330 and led the Yellow Jackets with 17 home runs and 61 RBI. He also had 17 doubles among his 65 hits Finley was a second-team All-ACC pick after ranking third in the conference in RBI, sixth in home runs and seventh in slugging percentage as the Jackets went 30-27 overall while missing the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2018.
Other honors included making the ACC All-Academic team, being a semi-finalist for the John Olerud Award which goes to the nation’s best two-way player and being second-team All-Southeast Region selection by the American Baseball Coaches Conference.