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Baseball

CCC's Webb hopes to follow dad with big-league career

By MIKE READLING
Published June 8, 2004

Clearwater Central Catholic's Ryan Webb, the 127th pick overall, was surprised Oakland took him on the first day of Monday's draft, and even more surprised by how smoothly his dad, Hank, handled everything for him.

"He was doing everything," Webb said. "I was just sitting back."

But before crediting Hank Webb's smooth handling of draft day to the fact he once was a major-league pick himself, don't.

When Webb was picked in 1968 - long before draft publications, Web sites and the Internet made it a big event - he was scared.

"It was 1968, remember. ... I thought I had been drafted into the Army. Seriously," Webb said. "I got a call saying, "You've been drafted,' and I said I can't, I'm going to college.

"They said, "No, the New York Mets just drafted you.' "

Hank was drafted in the 10th round, 209th overall. He made it to the majors in 1972 and pitched until '77, going 7-9.

Ryan Webb (6 feet 6, 190 pounds) hopes to get to the majors just as quickly, pointing out the last high-schooler Oakland took in the first five rounds, Jeremy Bonderman, made it to the majors in two years.

HIGH ON THE LIST: When the University of Tampa's Eric Beattie was selected in the second round (43rd overall) it not only marked a big jump from where he was selected three years ago (47th round) it marked a large step for the Spartan program.

Aside from Tino Martinez, the only UT player drafted in the first round (14th in 1988), the highest-drafted Spartan before Monday was catcher Mike Rabelo, who went in the fourth round to Detroit in 2001.

"I'm happy with this," Beattie said. "I was probably close to the last pick that year, and I'm close to the first pick this year. That's a big improvement."

COUNTIN' COINAGE: The numbers obviously fluctuate every year, but using last year's draft as a gauge you can guess what some of the area picks might be able to command for signing bonuses.

Beattie, for example, can look at last year's No. 43 pick ( Jo Jo Reyes, a left-handed pitcher from Riverside Poly High in California), who signed with the Braves for $800,000.

Middleton's Josh Johnson was taken 85th by Kansas City, putting him in the neighborhood of last year's 85th pick, Tim Moss from the University of Texas, who received $440,000 when he signed.

LEAVE 'EM HANGIN' HORNS?: Johnson decided a few months ago he would play at the University of Texas. But that was before the Royals called in the middle of the third round.

It appears he will give the hook to the 'Horns and join Kansas City.

"When the dust settles things should move along quite readily," Johnson's father and high school coach, Larry Doby Johnson, said. "We don't anticipate any problems. I know Josh wants to play baseball on the professional level."

Johnson hit .509 for Middleton this season, striking out four times in 57 at-bats. He was the first Hillsborough County high school player picked this year and the highest since Denard Span went in the first round to Minnesota in 2002.

[Last modified June 8, 2004, 01:01:17]


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