JOHN C. COTEY
Pinellas County might not send many players to the majors this year.
After years of being a highly anticipated event, Monday's Major League Baseball draft is expected to come and go quietly as few players from Pinellas County expect to have their names called.
The first day of the draft is Monday, with 20 rounds expected to be completed. Pitcher Ryan Webb of Clearwater Central Catholic, a tall right-hander who was 10-0 this season and whose father, Hank, pitched for the New York Mets, would appear to be the most likely draftee in year's crop of local high schoolers.
Seminole's Cody Reed (dad Jerry is a former major-leaguer) was a draft possibility during the season, but the Florida-signee's dismissal from school may cloud his status.
Tuesday, the draft will continue another 30 rounds or so, in which players may be selected as draft-and-follows. Major-league teams often draft players with the intention of watching them their first season in college, after which they can then be signed or re-entered into the draft.
Players who attend junior colleges can be drafted again the next year. Those who go to four-year colleges are not eligible again until after their junior year.
Northside Christian pitcher Todd Redmond was disappointed in his 40th-round selection by Kansas City last year, so he turned down a Division I offer from North Carolina State last year to attend St. Petersburg College and re-enter this year's draft. Redmond improved his stock with an excellent season and should be chosen.
Others, such as East Lake's Jon Schaus, have signed after a season of JUCO ball. Schaus was drafted in the 31st round last year by Atlanta, signing with the Braves before the May 31 deadline before he could have re-entered the draft. He played this season for Central Florida Community College.
Baseball America lists former Dunedin pitcher Kyle Schmidt as the 36th-best prospect in Florida. Schmidt transferred to USF from Georgia Tech but was inconsistent for the Bulls, the magazine said.
There probably will be some surprises, such as Countryside's Geoff Rottmayer (taken in the 40th round last year) and Palm Harbor University's Jason Corbett, drafted late by Anaheim in 2002.
Pinellas County has had a player taken in the first round three of the past three years: Dunedin's Ryan Harvey in 2003 (to Chicago, 6th overall), Seminole's Casey Kotchman in 2001 (to Anaheim, 13th overall) and Gibbs' Boof Bonser in 2000 (to San Francisco, 21st overall).