By PETE YOUNG
© St. Petersburg Times, published June 3, 2001
After an all-star freshman season at Daytona Beach Community College, 2000 St. Petersburg High graduate Joe Jiannetti has decided it's time to move on -- to pro ball.
A 40th-round draft pick of the New York Mets following an All-Pinellas senior season with the Green Devils, Jiannetti figured to be drafted a little higher this year.
The Mets would have lost his rights if he didn't sign by Tuesday's draft.
"They made a good offer, and I figured I'd just take it and move along," said Jiannetti, who didn't disclose the value of the deal but said it's a standard four-year minor-league contract and includes paying for college after his career.
Jiannetti (6 feet 1, 192 pounds), a third baseman who batted .376 with eight home runs and six triples in 45 games at DBCC and earned All-Mid Florida Conference honors, spent this week in Port St. Lucie working with Mets coaches.
He expects to be assigned to Kingsport, Tenn., of the Appalachian (rookie) League.
"It's hard work," Jiannetti said of his first few days as a professional. "We get up at 6:30 and don't leave 'til quarter to 4.
"I've always wanted to play pro ball -- always. Now I've got the chance, and I'll take it as far as I can."