The Rays, wrapping up their picks on the third day of the MLB draft, have drafted shortstop John Rodriguez from Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, where 17 people were shot and killed in February.
Rodriguez was a senior and leader on Douglas' baseball team, which made the state playoffs, a rallying point as the campus and community worked to find a way to enjoy normal high school life again in the wake of the tragic shooting. He batted .361 with 32 runs, among the team leaders in both categories.
Rodriguez posted on Twitter shortly after being drafted that while he appreciated the Rays selecting him, he intended to honor his commitment to play baseball at Florida International in Miami.
"Thank you to the Rays for drafting me and for all the other teams that scouted me," Rodriguez wrote. "I am blessed, but I will stick to my decision to go to school and continue my baseball career at Florida International University. #Pawsup"
He talked about surviving the shooting in a story posted on Yahoo.com, having moved to Florida two years ago to get away from violence in his hometown of Lawrence, Mass., and live with a host family.
"When I came here, I didn't think anything happened," he told the site. "I've seen dead bodies. I heard gunshots all the time. I was used to it. I'm used to things being wrong."
All 19 members of the Douglas varsity baseball team survived the shooting, as did all the members of the school's junior varsity team. The Eagles reached the regional final of the state playoffs.