Former White Sox Amateur City Elite (ACE) outfielder Corey Ray was selected by the Milwaukee Brewers with the fifth overall pick out of the University of Louisville in tonight's Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
Ray, a 21-year-old junior, is the highest ACE player selected in the history of the draft, and the highest pick in Louisville history. He is batting .319 (83-260) with 16 doubles, one triple, 15 home runs, 60 RBI, 55 runs scored, 44 stolen bases, a .396 on-base percentage and .562 slugging percentage in 62 games for No. 2 Louisville. Ray ranks among Division I leaders in steals (2nd), total bases (T25th), home runs (T31st) and RBI (T40th).
Ray, who spent six years in the ACE program, is the 15th ACE player (17th time overall) to be selected in the MLB draft. He originally was drafted by Seattle in the 33rd round of the 2013 draft. The ACE program has helped 122 players receive college scholarships since its inaugural year in 2007. Right-hander Blake Hickman, who was the previous highest ACE selection, was drafted by the White Sox in the seventh round out of the University of Iowa in the 2015 draft.
"I am so proud of Corey," said White Sox director of youth baseball initiatives Kevin Coe. "Since the first day I met him, he has always wanted to be great. He knew he had to outwork everyone on and off the field. Today is a reward for all of his hard work and passion. This couldn't have happened to a better kid. Congratulations to Corey and the entire Ray family."
The 6-foot, 190-pound Ray was named to the All-ACC First Team, Baseball America Second-Team and a Louisville Slugger All-American, and was a semifinalist for the USA Golden Spikes and Dick Howser Awards in 2016. Ray entered the draft rated by MLB.com and Baseball America as the No. 6 prospect overall.
"I'm a firm believer in hard work," said Ray. "Playing for the White Sox Amateur City Elite, I learned that hard work pays off. The ACE program was very instrumental in my development and growth as a student athlete. The facility availability and instruction is unparalleled. I cannot thank Mr. Jerry Reinsdorf and the Chicago White Sox enough for everything they provided for me."
Ray is a career .322 (194-602) hitter with 36 doubles, eight triples, 27 home runs, 133 RBI, 112 runs scored, 82 stolen bases, .395 on-base percentage and .543 slugging percentage in 170 games over three seasons with Louisville.
The Chicago native was named Chicago's Most Outstanding Male Athlete and a Preseason Prep All-American at Simeon Career Academy in 2013. Ray is the highest pick from Chicago since Jeff Jackson was selected fourth overall by Philadelphia in 1989. He becomes just the fifth Chicago native to be selected in the first round, joining Les Filkins in 1975 (third overall by Detroit), Bob Cummings in 1978 (seventh by San Francisco), Erik Pappas in 1984 (sixth by California) and Jackson. Ray played in the 2012 Under Armour All-American Game at Wrigley Field as well as the Double Duty Classic at U.S. Cellular Field in 2011-12.