CALEDONIA, Mich. (WOOD) — Andrew Taylor stepped onto the baseball diamond at Caledonia High School less than 24 hours after he was drafted. He couldn’t believe how far he’s come since last playing on that field. 

“I would’ve never thought that I’d get to this point today,” said Taylor, who was drafted in the second round to the Houston Astros as the 80th overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft. 

The former Caledonia baseball standout and Central Michigan University pitcher quickly climbed the ranks with the Chippewas. He led them on the mound, going 20-8 through three seasons, also helping the team to a deep NCAA tournament run last season.

He also holds a program record after throwing 126 strikeouts this season. He said stepping away from the college game is bittersweet, but he’s ready to live out a lifelong dream of playing at the professional level. 

“It feels amazing — it’s a huge weight lifted off my shoulders of not having to worry about today and fielding more phone calls, it’s incredible,” Taylor said. “I wouldn’t be able to do it without the guys behind me. Baseball is a team game, and not one guy can lead you through it all, and for (my team) to have my back in all of this it’s a blessing come true.” 

Taylor is one of the highest draft picks Central Michigan has seen in decades. He’s just the third player to go in the first two rounds, joining Chris Knapp (first round in 1975) and Kevin Tapani (second round in 1986). It also marks the second time in three years that a Chippewa has been selected in the top three rounds of the draft. In 2020, CMU shortstop Zavier Warren went in the third round to the Milwaukee Brewers with the 92nd overall pick.

So far, the Chippewas are sending three players to the pros this year. Outfielder Jakob Marsee was drafted in the sixth round to the San Diego Padres and infielder Mario Camilletti was drafted in the eighth round to the Chicago White Sox.