BY JEFF HARTSELL

jhartsell@postandcourier.com

Former Citadel baseball standout Chris McGuiness was picked by the Cleveland Indians with the fifth overall selection in Thursday’s MLB Rule 5 draft.

McGuiness, a left-handed hitting first baseman from James Island, was the MVP of the Arizona Fall League this year, hitting .370 with five doubles, four home runs and 27 runs batted-in in 25 games. In Class AA last season, McGuiness hit .268 with 25 doubles, 23 homers and 77 RBI in 132 games for the Texas Rangers affiliate in Frisco, Texas.

The move means the 24-year-old McGuiness, left off the 40-man roster by the Rangers,

should get a shot at making a major-league club next season. During the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft, an eligible player left unprotected from his club’s 40-man roster may be selected for $50,000. He must then remain on his drafting team’s active Major League roster during the following season or be sent back to the original club for $25,000.

“(McGuiness) checks out in a lot of different ways for us,” Ross Atkins, director of player development for the Indians, told the Cleveland Plan Dealer. “He plays a position where we’re going to try and be creative to find someone who can help our Major League team.

“He had a very good year in AA and a very productive Arizona Fall League. We feel he’s an average defender at first base already and could make an impact soon.”

McGuiness was a 13th-round pick by Boston in 2009, and was traded to the Rangers in 2010.