Thursday, June 07, 2007

Running MLB Draft blog ...

Tribune college beat writer Brian Milne is writing a running draft blog during the two-day MLB First-Year Player Draft. Here is Thursday's live entry, which will be updated throughout the five rounds scheduled for today:

  • 11 a.m. The draft is a go. ... The first player with a local tie expected to go in today's draft is Cal Poly RF Grant Desme. He is expected to go in the first two rounds. The first round is being covered by ESPN2. The best bet would be late first round or compensatory pick for Desme. If he doesn't go by the second round, Desme could possibly consider returning for his senior year.
  • 11:50 a.m. Here's our draft preview from today's paper, which takes a closer look at Desme and also lists other players with local ties who may go in the draft.
  • Noon Talking to local scouts the past couple days, they said they would be shocked if Desme is around after the second round. If he slides, it's probably because of the broken right wrist, which he injured in the final game of the UC Davis series. He hopes to get the cast off by next week and would like to play short-season ball by early July.
  • 12:30 p.m. A lot is being made about Canadian-born players in the draft after Seattle picked Phillippe Aumont (Ecole Du Versant) with the 11th pick of the first round. Among the batch of Canadians in this draft is Hancock and SLO Blues first baseman David Van Ostrand, brother of former Cal Poly slugger Jimmy Van Ostrand. Jimmy Van Ostrand is the leading hitter for the Lexington Legends, a Class-A affiliate of the Houston Astros. David Van Ostrand has also signed with Cal Poly but will have to consider a draft offer.
  • 12:45 p.m. Another player Cal Poly fans should be aware of is Cabrillo High pitcher Danny Duffy, a 6-3 left-hander who has a 94-mph fastball. Duffy has signed with Cal Poly, but few think he's going to make it there considering he's pitching before a dozen scouts a game in high school. Here's the scouting report on Duffy along with a video if you've never seen him pitch.
  • 1 p.m. Desme said he's been contacted by every MLB team and that no one team has stood out in the predraft process. His favorite team growing up in the Bakersfield? The New York Yankees of all teams. The Yankees have the 30th and final pick off the first round before the compensatory round. They also have the 94th pick in the second and 124th pick in the third round. But I'm guessing the Yankees are looking at pitchers the way their rotation has been of late. ... Here's a list of the draft order.
  • 1:20 p.m. Of the first 25 picks in the draft, eight are originally from California. None are from Big West schools. It just goes to show what a hotbed California is for baseball talent and what big-name programs recruiters from West Coast schools like Cal Poly are up against.
  • 1:30 p.m. Check that, with the 26th pick in the first round the Oakland A's took Big West Pitcher of the Year James Simmons from UC Riverside. After the selection, Peter Gammons said, "I don't think there's any question he'll be pitching in the big leagues." Sounds like something I alluded to in a blog entry on Simmons earlier this year. Maybe I should be working for ESPN.
  • 1:45 p.m. Many fans are checking out the draft process for the first time because it's being televised on ESPN2. While all of these guys sound good, I believe only four players from last year's draft have made it to the majors, so it's important to note that it takes some time. Look at Atascadero's Scott McClain drafted out of high school by the Baltimore Orioles in 1990. McClain, one of the best homegrown products this area has seen, is still playing minor league ball and has played in a total of 22 big league games, cracking an MLB lineup for the first time in 1998.
  • 2 p.m. First official round ends with the Yankees taking ... a pitcher of course, Andrew Brackman out of No. Carolina St. Desme won't become the first Cal Poly position player since John Orton to go in the official first round. Orton, a catcher, was taken by the California Angels with the 25th overall pick of the 1987 draft. Cal Poly LHP Garrett Olson was drafted in the compensatory round after the first round in 2005 (48th overall selection) in 2005.
  • 3 p.m. Another Big West pitcher goes, but still no position players. Cal State Fullerton right-hander Wes Roemer goes in the compensatory round to Arizona (50th overall pick).
  • 3:30 p.m. The compensatory round is complete and no players with county ties have been picked. The draft pool is relatively shallow in terms of power outfielders, which is why Desme should be going soon.
  • 3:37 p.m. Desme is selected by Oakland Athletics, who apparently need some hitters after nearly getting not hit by Schilling and the Red Sox today, in the second round with the 74th overall pick.
  • Desme becomes the fourth-highest draft pick in Cal Poly baseball history. Left-handed pitcher Garrett Olson was taken in the compensatory first round in 2005 (48th overall). Catcher John Orton was drafted by the California Angels in 1987 (25th overall) — the highest-ever selection of a Mustang baseball player. And infielder Dave Oliver was selected by the Cleveland Indians in 1973 with the 53rd overall pick in the third round.
  • 4:20 p.m. Over the weekend, Desme told me he would likely leave Cal Poly a year early if taken in the first couple rounds of today's draft. He should address that question at a 5 p.m. press conference today at Baggett Stadium.
  • 5:30 p.m. Sure enough, Desme confirmed that he plans on signing a professional contract, leaving Cal Poly a year early.
  • 6 p.m. Two other Mustangs were drafted on the first day and told The Tribune that they will leave Cal Poly early. RHPs Evan Reed and Thomas Eager were drafted while I was at the press conference for Desme. Reed, a closer, was taken in the third round by the Texas Rangers (110th overall). He confirmed he plans to leave school a year early like Desme. Eager, Cal Poly's No. 1 starter as a third-year sophomore, was taken in the fifth round by the St. Louis Cardinals (172nd overall). He will leave the program with two years of eligibility remaining.
That's it for now. For more on the draft, see Friday's Tribune. I'll also be writing a blog on Day 2 of the draft tomorrow.

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