Mountaineers Davis, Cramer taken in draft

MORGANTOWN — Jackson Cramer visited a snow cone joint in his native Texas on June 14 to keep his mind off the final day of the Major League Baseball draft.

Then a text from Chad Donato, his former WVU baseball teammate, arrived.

Suddenly, Cramer’s mind was right back on the draft.

Donato informed the senior first baseman that the Washington Nationals had selected him in the 35th round, with the 1,063rd overall pick.

“The main thing is relief,” said Cramer, a Coppell, Texas, native who went undrafted a year ago. “It’s like a stressful day trying to get your mind off it. It’s tough to do that. Once you get that text, it’s really good.”

Cramer wasn’t the only Mountaineers player to receive good news Wednesday.

The Houston Astros picked junior left fielder Kyle Davis, in the 15th round, 451st overall.

Two of Davis’ former WVU teammates are in the Astros’ organization: Donato, a right-handed pitcher who is in West Palm Beach, Fla., rehabbing from elbow surgery, and outfielder Bobby Boyd, who most recently played for Class AA Corpus Christi, Texas.

Davis was a second-team all-Big 12 Conference selection this season. He hit .316, with 10 home runs and 44 RBIs. He has until July 15 to sign with the Astros or return to WVU for his senior season.

A WVU spokesman said Wednesday that Davis won’t be available for interviews until he makes a decision. Davis did issue a statement for a school press release.

“I would like to thank the Houston Astros for this amazing opportunity, and to the West Virginia University baseball staff for the chance to play college baseball,” said Davis, who was named to the 2017 ABCA/Rawlings all-East region first team, on Wednesday.

“I have met amazing people along the way that have guided me tirelessly. I could not be more humbled at this time and have formed bonds with amazing teammates that will last forever. God is good!”

Cramer said he will sign with the Nationals after reporting to the organization’s spring training base, in West Palm Beach, Fla.

He was an honorable-mention all-Big 12 choice this season. He batted .270, with 11 home runs and 46 RBIs.

“I think the main adjustment to [pro ball] is going to be the wood bat and playing every day,” Cramer said. “We get a little time off [in college] with practice and whatnot. Playing games every day is a big adjustment. I guess the travel might be a little bit more, too.”

Cramer could run into Davis in West Palm Beach if Davis signs with the Astros. Houston shares that training base with the Nationals.

Cramer and Davis could wind up in the short-season New York-Penn League. The Nationals have an affiliate in Auburn, N.Y., while the Astros are in Troy, N.Y.

Those teams aren’t scheduled to play regular-season games against the West Virginia Black Bears, at Monongalia County Ballpark.

The Black Bears don’t play the Tri-City Valleycats (Astros), and all three of the Black Bears’ series with Auburn are in New York.

Cramer is just glad to be putting on another baseball uniform. He remembers the disappointment of not hearing his name called in the draft a year ago.

“It definitely made me appreciate my last year more, playing baseball for West Virginia,” Cramer said.

“It could have been my last year playing baseball all together. I had more fun on the field this last year.”

He and Davis helped the Mountaineers end a 21-year NCAA regional drought. WVU earned a bid to the Winston-Salem, N.C., regional, where the Mountaineers went 2-2.

“When I first got to college, that was all I wanted to get out of it — make a regional,” said Cramer, who is finishing an online class to complete his finance degree. “I never made one until my last year. I’m glad I got the chance to come back to school my senior year.”

WVU coach Randy Mazey said he was excited for Cramer and Davis.

“They both have worked really hard, both on the field and off, and are very deserving,” Mazey said in a school press release. “Kyle and Jackson are great Mountaineers, and it’s a tremendous day to see their names called.”

Former WVU reliever Brandon Boone, who transferred to St. Edwards University after the 2016 season, was drafted by the Miami Marlins, in the 39th round.