Posted: 6:45 pm Wednesday, June 10th, 2009
By Jason Lieser
Three local high school players were chosen on Day 2 of Major League Baseball’s draft, and at least one of them sounds like he is ready to turn pro.
Trinity Christian pitcher Jacob Johnson went first, with the Cincinnati Reds taking him early in the 11th round at No. 329 overall. The New York Mets picked West Boca Raton outfielder Chase Greene in the 16th round, and the Kansas City Royals took South Fork’s Nick Zaharion in Round 29.
Click here for our news story on the draft, which will appear in Thursday’s paper.
Johnson, the Post‘s small schools player of the year for 2009, will meet with the Reds over the next few days before deciding whether to enter the minor leagues or hang on to his Wake Forest scholarship.
As a senior at Trinity Christian, Johnson went 6-2 with a 1.63 ERA, striking out 71 hitters in 47 1/3 innings. He also played first base and batted .486 with four home runs and 36 RBIs.
Greene, meanwhile, sounds ready to jump on the New York Mets’ offer and forego his scholarship to South Florida. Green said he already has discussed contract figures with the New York Mets and is leaning toward turning pro.
“Before the draft I was expecting anywhere from the fourth to sixth round, but they called me and said if you wait we can get you the money,” Greene said. “They gave me late-fourth round money. I’m still deciding between college and pro, but the Mets are a good fit for me and I’m ready to get started.”
Greene hit .388 as a senior and stole 31 bases. He was regarded as one of the fastest draft-eligible players in the nation and was second-team all-area.
Zaharion will have to choose between an offer from the Royals and a potential opportunity to play at Rice University. He previously accepted a scholarship to play for St. Pete Community College, but shortly after the Royals picked him, Zaharion got a call from Rice expressing an interest in having him on the team.
“It’s awesome,” Zaharion said of being drafted. “I was sitting in my house all day waiting for the call, but it came up on the Internet before the call. My dad went to get a drink from the fridge and all of the sudden you hear, ‘the Kansas City Royals select Nick Zaharion.’ I was speechless. It was the best feeling in the world.”
Zaharion is fresh off leading South Fork to its first state championship and batted .516 as a senior. He hit three home runs with 27 RBIs and was selected to the all-area team for the second straight season.
No local players were chosen in the first three rounds Tuesday. Rounds 4-30 were today and the final 20 rounds are scheduled for Thursday.
Justin Dalles, who caught at South Carolina after playing for Park Vista, went in the sixth round, 176th overall to the Baltimore Orioles. Mike Rayl, another former Cobra, was chosen 455th by the Cleveland Indians.
The San Diego Padres took former Jupiter pitcher Miles Mikolas in the seventh at No. 204.
Two former Royal Palm Beach players, infielder Michael Mooney and pitcher Robert Donovan, were picked in the 23rd round by the Orioles and Houston Astros, respectively.
Just like the NFL draft, this can be difficult to track sometimes, so if I’m missing anyone else from Palm Beach County or the Treasure Coast, please let me know.