Tuesday, June 07, 2011

MLB Draft - Days One and Two

Pleasant Grove High School right-hander Kyle Castro became the school's first-ever player selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft when he was chosen in the third round by the Texas Rangers Tuesday. Castro was the 113th selection overall.

Two rounds later Elk Grove High School slugger J.D. Davis was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays. He was the 180th player taken overall. Davis was drafted as a third baseman even though he was the Herd’s top pitcher the past two years.

The pair marks the earliest any graduating prep player from an Elk Grove Unified School District School has ever been selected in the First-Year Player Draft. In 1970, Elk Grove’s Bruce Butter was selected in the fifth round by the Philadelphia Phillies. Two former Herd players were drafted in 1982 – Catcher Todd Trafton in the sixth round by the White Sox and outfielder Tim Hill in the seventh round by the Dodgers.

Three years ago former Laguna Creek pitcher Casey Weathers was a first-round draft choice but he was drafted after his senior season at Vanderbilt.

A couple hours after Davis’ pick, the Toronto Blue Jays selected Bradshaw Christian School’s ace pitcher Brady Dragmire in the 17th round, a school first, as well.

A Pleasant Grove alum, Sacramento City College pitcher Kyle Devore, became the Eagles’ second-ever MLB Draftee when he was selected in the 27th round (834th overall) by the Rangers.

Texas chose three pitchers in its first four picks, but Castro was the only right-hander in that group. He was the 12th high school grad from the State of California taken in the Draft. Castro went 5-4 with a 3.56 ERA in 16 appearances for Pleasant Grove this season. He struck out 64 and walked 29 in 55 innings.

“This is a great day for him and for our program,” Eagles’ head coach Rob Rinaldi said. “I know it was an exciting day for (Castro) and he’s now in a very elite group of people. I phoned him and wished him the best.”

Castro almost assuredly will sign with Texas after not committing to a college this season and opting to consider either junior college or a professional contract.

Davis admitted he was on quite an emotional roller-coaster Monday and Tuesday. The Rays had ten picks in the first round and the compensation round which followed. Davis was their 15th overall selection.

“(The Rays) called to say they were going to pick me, perhaps in the first round, so we were waiting and waiting,” Davis said. “We went over to (Elk Grove head coach Jeff ) Carson’s house to hang out, waiting to hear something. Then they called me this morning and said they’d pick me the second or third round.”

Davis didn’t get the call then and needed to leave to drive to a photo shoot in downtown Sacramento. On his way, a representative from the Rays finally phoned.

“Then I started getting calls from everywhere saying, ‘Congratulations’,” he said. Some of those calls came from his future coaches at Fullerton.

Davis said that the Rays will come to his home in a little more than a week to discuss contract. 

Davis have a tough decision to make this summer because he’s already inked a letter-of-intent to Cal State – Fullerton. All draftees must be signed to a pro contract by Aug. 15. The next day, Davis said, is the day he’s due to report to Fullerton.

“I’ve got so many options going on right now,” he said. “The calls from Fullerton want me to come to Fullerton, but I want to sit back and just weigh my options.”

Davis, drafted as a third baseman, went 6-2 on the mound with one save and a 1.56 ERA in his senior season at Elk Grove. He struck out 70 and walked just 17 in 49 1/3 innings.

Davis led Elk Grove with a .484 average and nine home runs. He was second on the team with 45 RBIs.

“It’s an exciting day for him, his family, for the (Elk Grove) program and for me as his coach,” Carlson said. “Just to get drafted means you’re pretty special and an elite player.”

Davis is Carlson’s 10th Elk Grove player to be drafted out of high school and thinks he’ll have a nice offer brought to him by the Rays.

“He has a great opportunity at a great baseball school at Fullerton to fall back on,” Carlson said. “He’ll have great leverage in his negotiations. Just because he was drafted fifth round doesn’t mean he’ll get fifth round money. They’ll have to come to him with something like second round money to entice him to think about maybe signing this year.”

Dragmire, the 529th player selected overall, likewise has committed to a college, Nevada – Reno.

“This is a tremendous accomplishment for him,” Bradshaw’s athletic director Mike Ruble said. “When I got to Bradshaw a few years ago and met Brady, I knew he was someone special.”

Devore had a great year for the Cougars. He was 11-0 with a 2.50 ERA. Devore, a sophomore at City College, struck out 89 in 101 innings and walked only nine.

“He has the unique ability to miss the barrel,” Rinaldi said. “Kyle was fantastic for us. He won a big game against Jesuit the last day of the regular season his sophomore year. He then won a playoff game against Davis his junior year and in his senior year he had 15 strikeouts in a game against Woodland.”

“I know he’s a hard worker and got better every year for City (College),” he added.

Rinaldi thinks two more former Pleasant Grove pitchers, Dylan Chavez and Taylor Herbert, may both be selected by the end of the Draft.

The first area player drafted was former Jesuit and current Oregon State catcher Andrew Susac who was selected in the second round by the San Francisco Giants.

The third and final day of the Draft was Wednesday with rounds 31 through 50.

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