WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Major League Baseball held its annual draft this week. Yesterday we met West Brunswick High’s Jay Gause, who was drafted by the Cleveland Indians. Several stars who have shined in Wilmington were also selected, including five UNCW Seahawks.
Each spring, dreams become reality for more than one thousand aspiring baseball players, who turn in their metal bats for wood. It is a tip of the cap for coaches whose programs move players on to play pro ball, but they are often stripped of their stars before they play out their four year career.
“Unfortunately, you kind of have to make plans for that as you go,” UNCW baseball coach Mark Scalf said. “Early in the year from a recruiting standpoint, you try to get an idea from the pro scouts and from the players and the families and what their status may be come springtime.”
UNCW had five players selected in the MLB draft on day two, including three juniors. They are faced with the decision of returning for their senior year, or to turn the page on a new part of their career.
Cody Stanley was the top UNCW pick. He was selected in the fourth round by St. Louis; one of just two catchers taken by the Cardinals. Scalf is unsure if Stanley will be behind the plate at Brooks Field next season or if he’ll have the services of two rising senior pitchers. Stephen Harrold was taken by San Francisco in the 12th round and Cameron Roth was selected by Baltimore in the 29th.
“I think Cody being drafted in the fourth round there’s no doubt that he’ll sign and move on, and really I feel like Stephen and Cam will do the same thing,” Scalf said. “I think both of them are ready. They are prepared to go to the next level. We’ll continue to push each one of them to come back and work on their degree in the off-seasons.”
Oakland picked senior Seth Frankoff, a righthanded pitcher, in the 28th round, while Baltimore took another Seahawk Senior, shortstop Mike Rooney, in the 30th round.
“Seth and Michael being seniors and getting the chance to continue to play at least another year at the next level is a dream come true for those guys,” Scalf said.
Coach Scalf knows he’ll be without Frankoff and Rooney next year and will know about his underclassmen by August 15, which is the official signing deadline.
While those college players mull their future, a Wilmington high schooler also has a choice to make about his big league dreams. The Washington Nationals selected Hoggard’s Jeff Bouton in the 45th round.
Bouton helped the Vikings to the top of the state rankings, where they sat for much of the season. He will decide whether to sign with the Nats or take his long ball threat to UNC, where he has been offered a scholarship, and wait at least three more years to be drafted again.