Lincoln - Nebraska baseball signee Justin Black became the first player with Husker ties to be picked in the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft when he was selected by the Atlanta Braves in the fourth round on Tuesday as the 149th overall pick. With 15 of the 40 rounds now in the books, Black has been the only player with Husker ties to be selected. The three-day draft concludes tomorrow with rounds 16-40.
A switching-hitting outfielder from Billings, Mont., Black ranks as ESPN's No. 100 high school prospect in the country and has seen his stock rise over the past few months after signing with the Huskers last November.
Black spent two weeks in Arizona this past March playing with the Canadian-based Langley Blaze select team. The Blaze spent four days in Tucson playing against junior college teams, then spent a week in Phoenix playing against Class A and Class AA players in MLB camps, as well as a pair of games against the Dominican Republic National Team.
Following the 2011 summer, Black ranked as a top-500 player in the country by Perfect Game USA and the second-best player in the state of Montana. A standout outfielder, he plays in the Billings American Legion program under Head Coach Adam Hust and led the Scarlets to a 51-11-1 record in 2011. Billings came within one win of reaching the American Legion World Series, but lost to Waipahu, Hawaii, in the Class AA Northwest Regional final. The Scarlets were the first team from Billings to reach the regional final since 1971
Nearly unstoppable at the plate in 2011 with a .495 batting average, Black recorded 21 triples, 18 doubles, seven home runs and 86 RBIs, while also swiping 32 bags. Black posted a .417 batting average with five home runs, 58 RBIs and 21 stolen bases during the summer of 2010.
Black has been named both an Under Armour and Bobby Valentine All-American. He participated at USA Baseball's 2011 Tournament of Stars in Cary, N.C., in June and was invited to try out for a spot on USA Baseball's under-18 national team, but didn't make the final pool of 40 players.
The deadline for players selected in the First-Year Player Draft to sign a MLB contract is 5 p.m. ET on July 13.