BASEBALL HOTBED: Draft hits Georgia big

The Tigris and Euphrates rivers converged in ancient society to help form the Fertile Crescent in Mesopotmia, back when civilization was still in its cradle. While the Savannah River and the Chattahoochee River might not mean as much in a historical sense, the two rivers have certainly created a fertile territory in the state of Georgia for baseball players.

This year five Georgia high schoolers and one Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket pitcher were selected in the first round with two more prep stars selected in the second, three more in the third and two more in the fourth rounds.  The state of Georgia was considered by many baseball experts to be the hottest state this year in terms of prospects, and the state did not disappoint with seemingly pick after pick being called out in the first round having some Georgia connection.
Delino DeShields Jr., out of the Woodward Academy got the party started when the Houston Astros selected the son of the former Montreal Expo and Baltimore Oriole by the same name with the No. 8 overall pick. After Toronto grabbed Georgia Tech right-hander Deck McGuire with the No. 11 pick, the Texas Rangers tapped one of the fastest risers in all of the draft, Jake Skole with the No. 15 pick.
Out of Blessed Trinity, Skole missed most of his senior season with an injury and was ready to go to Georgia Tech on a football scholarship when a recent hot streak really got scouts excited. "Scouts were at all of the last few games, watching everything I did, from warming up to long toss to batting practice," said Skole. The outfielder possesses great speed and is very strong defensively. Skole noted that the scouts also "loved to see the power numbers," and his ability to play multiple sports. The multiple sports may have helped Skole get drafted as highly as he did because it gave him some publicity as the baseball player that dominated the gridiron. "It is a good problem to have," Skole said of his ability to excel at both football and baseball. Skole described the differences between the two in that football is more aggressive while baseball "is more cool and collected. It is more of a mental game." Skole recently agreed to a contract with the Rangers that will give him a $1.557M signing bonus and he will report to either the Rangers rookie team in Arizona or the Class Low-A in Spokane, Washington. With the deal, Skole’s college career is all but over, something that disappoints Skole. "I’m bummed that I’ll miss the atmosphere of an ACC football game." He had planned to walk on to the Tech baseball team and join his brother, All-ACC infielder Matt Skole, but "they (Tech) want the best for me."
In fact Skole was watching his brother play against Alabama when he heard that he had been drafted. While he was excited, Skole also noted that he was relieved to get the "fun ride" over with. "(Being drafted so early) was a little surprising, but I knew it would happen sooner or later."
After the Blessed Trinity star’s football career ended with the No. 15 pick, Kaleb Cowart of Cook County heard his name called at No. 18 by the Los Angeles Angels. This would become a theme as the Angels dipped back into the state with the No. 29 pick and the No. 30 pick, taking East Coweta pitcher Cam Bedrosian and Marietta centerfielder Chevez Clarke, respectively.
Bedrosian’s high school coach Franklin DeLoach wasn’t surprised that Bedrosian was taken in the first round as he always knew how good he was, dating back to when he first saw him in the ninth grade. "He was always modest and just worked hard," said DeLoach of his fifth charge drafted in the last seven years and highest ever in his thirteen years as a coach. "Cam was the same old, same old (throughout the process) and was the same great teammate the whole time."
DeLoach said that he and his assistant coaches and their families all got together and were texting back and forth with Cam and his father, East Coweta pitching coach and former major league reliever Steve Bedrosian, and DeLoach said that when he saw Cam get picked he was proud and excited. "The buttons on our shirts almost came off we jumped up so fast." DeLoach commented that his player is first class and the best teammate he has ever coached. "He’s the finest young man you’ll ever meet."
How did Bedrosian celebrate? He came out to a youth clinic just days after being drafted to thank his coaches and sign autographs for all of the campers at DeLoach’s clinic.
Chris Stafford, the Marietta High School baseball coach was just as glowing with his thoughts on Chevez "Chevy" Clarke. "Clarke has the best tools of any player I have ever coached," said the first year Marietta coach. Stafford has previously coached a first round pick and second round pick, but thinks that Clarke’s success, "is attributed to a great support system of family and coaches and a phenomenal work ethic and ability to stay focused during this crazy process and most of all a strong faith in God."
Stafford said that he was watching the draft on television with his wife when he saw Clarke’s name called at No. 30 by the Angels. "They had told us that if Chevez was still available by the 30th they would take him," said Stafford. After taking two other Georgia prospects with their first two picks, Stafford and the Clarkes were not sure he would go in the first round, so no joint party was planned. Then the LA Angels chose him with the team’s next pick. "As soon as pick number 30 came I got real excited and when I heard his name I grabbed my keys and headed over to their house to congratulate him and his family. We all thought he had a good chance to go in the first but had no certainty at all if it would be early first or if it could go down to the 2nd round."
Cartier Goodrum of Fayetteville, Ralston Cash of Gainesville went in the second round while Aaron Shipman (Brooks County), Christopher Hawkins (North Gwinnett) and Jordan Akins (Union Grove) went in the third. Mill Creek’s Matthew Grimes and Alvin Toles of Sandy Creek both went in the fourth round.
Georgia once again provided major league baseball with a plethora of prospects. DeLoach said it best when he said that "predicting the draft is like predicting the weather." No one knows for sure what will happen until it happens. But for five Georgia high school players taken in the first round, life seems pretty sunny.

2 Responses to “BASEBALL HOTBED: Draft hits Georgia big”

  1. One Handsome Guy
    June 24, 2010 at 11:09 pm #

    Good luck to all of these young men and way to represent the state!

  2. Linda
    June 25, 2010 at 12:55 pm #

    Very well written. PS, I know Coach DeLoach, what a great coach and an even nicer man. He deserves praise for helping Cam along, even if he says he doesn’t.

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