Ryan Bliss celebrates

Auburn shortstop Ryan Bliss celebrates with family and friends after being selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks with the 42nd overall pick in the draft

Former Auburn shortstop Ryan Bliss was the first Auburn player to be selected in the 2021 Major League Baseball Draft. 

He was picked by the Arizona Diamondbacks with the 42nd overall pick in the second round. 

One of four two-time All-Americans in program history, Bliss played and started in all but two games during his Auburn career and is now the ninth highest-drafted player overall in program history and fifth-highest position player taken.

The LaGrange, Georgia native turned in a .328 career average with 176 hits in 134 contests. He added 121 runs, 32 doubles, four triples, 20 homers and 99 RBI while turning in a .972 career fielding percentage. 

He also ranked in the top five in the league overall in average, slugging, hits and total bases during the regular season.

Bliss’ selection in the draft extended the Tigers’ SEC-leading streak of having a player drafted, which now sits at 47 consecutive seasons.

Following Bliss the next day was right-handed pitcher Richard Fitts and infielder Tyler Miller. The pair were selected on the second day of the 2021 MLB Draft Monday afternoon.

Fitts was drafted by the New York Yankees in the sixth round with the 183rd overall pick, and Miller was selected by the Boston Red Sox in the ninth round with the 256th overall pick. 

The 2021 draft marks the first time since 2005 Auburn has had three players taken in the top nine rounds.

A native of Helena, Fitts has made 40 appearances, including 14 starts, in his time on the Plains. He has totaled seven wins and earned one save while striking out 104 batters in 117.0 innings pitched.

Miller, the Spanish Fort native, led the SEC with 61 RBI during the regular season and paced Auburn with 16 home runs. 

Miller ranked third on the team with a .313 batting average and was second in runs (38), total bases (125) and slugging percentage (.601). 

He started at first base in 48 of his 51 games and turned in a .997 fielding percentage while also playing a part in 42 double plays.

Auburn senior Steven Williams also found a new home on Tuesday after being selected by the Washington Nationals with the 533rd overall pick in the 18th round of the draft. 

The selection in the 18th round bests draft position coming out of high school, when he was taken by the New York Yankees with their 35th-round pick. 

Williams played in 191 games with the Tigers, starting 187, and finished the 2021 season tied for sixth in program history with 36 career home runs. He also racked up 135 RBI during his collegiate career. 

Williams became the 28th player selected during Auburn head coach Butch Thompson’s six-year tenure as the Tigers’ head coach. 

The Tigers also had two signees taken in the draft, with Calvin Ziegler being drafted in the second round by the New York Mets and Riggs Threadgill finding a potential home after being taken by the Washington Nationals in the 19th round. 

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