Ray Montgomery received rave reviews for his 2015 draft class, his first as amateur scouting director of the Milwaukee Brewers. Not only did the club net talented players like Trent Clark, Nathan Kirby, Cody Ponce, and Demi Orimoloye near the top of the draft, but they also selected a myriad of talented prospects in the later rounds that fell due to signability issues with the hope of wooing them away from their college commitments. Now less than a year later, two of those young men have tragically passed away.
Milwaukee's 30th round pick was shortstop Charlie Donovan, a product of Westmont High School and Illinois' Gatorade Player of the Year for 2015. Despite a heavy collection of scouts at each of his games during his senior season, Donovan was adamant about honoring his commitment to the University of Michigan and chose not to sign with Milwaukee. He passed away in November after battling mononucleosis throughout last summer, which had caused him to defer his enrollment to Michigan.
Righty pitcher Donny Everett was considered one of the top talents in last year's draft. He featured a high-90's fastball but had reportedly turned down a $2.5 mil signing bonus before the draft in order to honor his commitment to Vanderbilt University, which boasts one of the top baseball programs in the county. These signability concerns caused Everett to slip all the way to the 29th round where he was selected by the Brewers, though the club wasn't able to convince him to join the professional ranks.
Everett's collegiate career was off to a strong start after he had posted a 1.50 ERA and 13:5 K/BB ratio through his first 12.0 innings for the Commodores. According to a report from The Tennessean earlier this morning, however, Donny tragically lost his life when he drowned during a fishing excursion with two teammates at Normandy Lake (south of Murfreesboro, TN) on Thursday night.
Both of these young men were 19 years old when their lives were sadly cut short, serving as a stark reminder of how precious our time on Earth is and how it can be taken away at any moment without warning. Our thoughts and prayers are with both of their families.