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Hurt star picked but likely to pass

By PETE YOUNG, BRIAN LANDMAN, SCOTT PURKS, BRANT JAMES, MARC TOPKIN, Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times,
published June 7, 2001


Dunedin right-hander Kyle Schmidt pitched one game this season, but that didn't stop the Orioles from drafting him in the 29th round Wednesday.

On Feb. 22, Schmidt and teammates Bryan Banks (drafted in the 35th round by the Rays) and Matt Cheek were in a one-car accident. Schmidt, the driver, had a compound fracture of the left humerus (upper arm) and a broken left ulna (forearm). He almost returned to the mound late in the season, but an infection set him back.

The 6-3, 215-pounder throws 90 mph and doesn't turn 18 until Aug. 25, so his upside is obvious. But he signed with Georgia Tech and will be hard for Baltimore to pry away.

"They said they were hoping to do a draft-and-follow," said Schmidt, meaning the Orioles want him to attend junior college. "But I'm definitely not interested in doing that. I'm probably still going to Georgia Tech."

SIX IS ENOUGH: When Seminole catcher Bobby Wilson was drafted in the 26th round by the Giants, the Warhawks tied a record with six draftees from a high school team in one year. Alas, no more Seminole players were chosen in the final 24 rounds.

Wilson, the Pinellas County Player of the Year, has signed with Mississippi, but he could be a draft-and-follow because he also has signed with St. Petersburg Junior College.

Should he sign with the Giants, Wilson could be catching familiar pitchers: Seminole right-hander T.J. Large was the Giants' ninth-round choice. COLLEGE BOUND: One-thousand, four-hundred and eighty-five players were drafted. Hernando's Dee Brown was not one of them despite astronomical statistics. The past two seasons he batted .503, slugged .989 and had 27 homers. Brown will play football and baseball for Central Florida.

INTO THE SUNSHINE: After three seasons at Northwestern, former Dunedin star and two-time All-Big Ten shortstop Jeremy Kurella transferred to UCF. Playing for the nationally ranked Golden Knights gave Kurella more exposure, and he was picked in the 29th round by the Phillies. The switch-hitting Kurella led UCF in hitting (.401), becoming the first Golden Knight in 14 years to bat .400, and was named third-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball.

BUT HE'S AWESOME!: Armwood's Mike Pete, one of Hillsborough County's most dominating left-handed pitchers of the past decade, wasn't drafted until the 49th round by the Cubs.

Before the draft, Armwood coach Joey Fernandez said Pete might get picked in the lower rounds because he has signed with Florida and is intent on studying medicine. Fernandez also said Pete's height, barely 6 feet, and his low-80s fastball might be issues.

Pete, the 2001 Times Hillsborough County Player of the Year, was 9-1 this season with a 0.53 ERA and 116 strikeouts in 79 innings.

HE'S AWESOME TOO: Like Pete, Kenny Holmberg was about as good as a high school player gets. The Dunedin shortstop was a repeat first-team All-Pinellas choice after a spectacular senior season in which he set school records for runs (47 in 28 games) and on-base percentage (.675).

The SPJC signee stands just 5-8, however, so his draft status was uncertain. Like Pete, he was taken in the 49th round, by the Blue Jays. Holmberg's father, Dennis, is a coach with the Class A Dunedin Blue Jays.

'NOLES TAKE A HIT: The draft figures to leave Florida State, like so many top-shelf collegiate programs, out in the proverbial cold.

Even if coach Mike Martin never figured Joe Mauer would play football and baseball at FSU, he was counting on right-handed pitcher/catcher Jeff Mathis, right-handed pitcher Justin Gillman, infielder Stephen Drew (younger brother of former FSU great J.D. Drew) and Countryside left-handed pitcher Mike White.

Not anymore.

Mathis (Marianna High) was taken by Anaheim as a compensatory pick between the first and second rounds (No. 33 overall), and Gillman (Mosely High) went in the second round to Cincinnati. Both probably will sign lucrative deals. Drew went in the 11th round to Pittsburgh and could command enough money to eschew FSU. Although White went in the 36th to the Rays, he said Wednesday the club wants him to go to junior college and "I think I'll go along with their plan." Look for him at St. Petersburg Junior College.

STOCKPILING MAUERS: The Twins took another Mauer in the draft, selecting University of St. Thomas second baseman Jake Mauer, older brother of Joe, with the first pick of the 23rd round.

Catcher Joe Mauer was the first pick overall Tuesday.

Scouting director Mike Radcliff denied Jake Mauer was taken to help in signing his brother. "I think Jake would've gotten drafted somewhere," he said. "He deserved the selection."

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