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West Jordan Journal

Former Copper Hills grad Taylor drafted into Major League Baseball

Sep 11, 2023 02:14PM ● By Greg James

A former Copper Hills standout baseball player was selected in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft. The first such pick for the school and community.

Brayden Taylor graduated from Copper Hills High School in 2020 amid the COVID pandemic and a canceled senior baseball season. After that dreadful season end his then coach Joel Sundquist called him the best.

“I consider him the best player in the state,” Sundquist said after the 2020 school year. “COVID robbed him of the opportunity to hear his name called in the MLB draft.”

He finally got that opportunity in July. The Tampa Bay Rays selected him in the first round, 19th overall. He was drafted as a shortstop. He said he was excited.

“This has been nothing but great,” he said in a press conference. “I am really excited to be here. I am the type of player that will never give up and always be a hard worker.”

He found out about the pick two seconds before as he sat backstage at the MLB draft party. He was there with his parents, two brothers and girlfriend.

“I felt my legs go right out from under me. I still can’t feel my legs,” he told reporters after his selection. “Being able to hug my family, it was fantastic. I am very grateful.”

Taylor attended TCU in Fort Worth, Texas. He was a Baseball America (an amateur baseball publication) third-team selection this season and first-team all Big-12. He was instrumental in guiding TCU to the college world series. This year he hit .308 and had 23 home runs which tied the single-season school record. 

“TCU was tremendous for me. I was able to go there and live on my own. I went to a new state. I have grown since being there. I can’t thank them enough for putting me in that position,” Taylor said.

On draft night the MLB draft analysts had nothing but praise for the Utahn.

“This is a young man that we have never seen struggle in college baseball. He had a lot of helium coming into draft night,” Greg Amsinger, an MLB network host, said.

“He was as good or better than anyone in college baseball this year. He will need to learn to hit the ball the other way, but he does not swing and miss at pitches in the zone at all. This is a great characteristic,” Dan O’Dowd, an MLB insider, said.

Tampa Bay assigned Taylor to the Single-A Charleston River Dogs. At press time he has two home runs and is hitting .250. He has been playing third base. The River Dogs are in first place in the Carolina League for the second half, the league plays a split season. 

Taylor credits his family and training as a youth.

“In Utah, we got lots of snow. I had to get creative. What I did when no one was watching makes the difference,” Taylor said. He also gave advice to others. “Don’t try to make big strides every day. As long as you can improve by one percent. Then hit your head on the pillow and say I had a good day today.”

According to Baseball Reference, Taylor is the fourth player from Copper Hills High School to play professional baseball. They also include Ryan Khoury, Drew Larsen and Ben Wright. λ