Ohio State baseball's Ronnie Dawson was selected by the Houston Astros with the 61st pick in the second round of the 2016 Major League Baseball amateur draft, on Thursday evening. Dawson is the highest-drafted Buckeye since pitcher Alex Wimmers went 21st overall in 2010.
The 6'2, 225-pound Grove City, Ohio native had a monster junior campaign in 2016, slashing .331/.419/.611. Dawson showed off all of his tools in helping lead Ohio State to a Big Ten tournament championship and its first NCAA tournament regional berth since 2009, leading the team with 85 hits, 55 runs scored, 25 doubles, 13 home runs, 51 runs batted in, and 21 stolen bases. For good measure, he also finished the year on a career-high 12-game hitting streak.
Those numbers resulted in Dawson being named third-team All-American by both Baseball America and Louisville Slugger and to the All-Big Ten first team.
During the Buckeyes' Big Ten tournament title run, Dawson was the catalyst. He earned Most Outstanding Player honors after hitting .578 and breaking tournament records with 15 hits and six doubles. His heroics included a 10th-inning go-ahead home run against Michigan State and a first-to-home sprint in the ninth inning to score the go-ahead run in the championship game against Iowa.
For his career, Dawson slashed .316/.395/.517, with 50 doubles, 24 home runs, 110 RBIs, and 47 steals. He is the only player in program history to amass at least 50 doubles, 20 home runs, and 40 stolen bases in a scarlet and gray uniform.
While still having a year of eligibility remaining, being drafted in this position makes turning pro a no-brainer. Dawson was one of the top positional college prospects in this year's draft, possessing a rare combination of power and speed. With his work ethic and talent, he may someday be seen in big league stadiums across the country.