At this point, John Furey is tough to stagger. After dealing with Major League Baseball scouts on a near-everyday basis during superstar center fielder Garrett Whitley’s senior season, the Niskayuna High School baseball coach has become skilled at taking things in stride.
But when Furey heard Monday that Baseball Prospectus had projected Whitley as the first pick in the 2015 MLB draft, the coach’s stammer said it all.
“Wh-what?” said Furey. “That’s crazy.”
Since last summer, Whitley has been projected to be first- or second-round pick. Monday’s mock draft from Baseball Prospectus — a highly-regarded baseball analysis organization — took things to another level. Previously, the highest draft spot Furey said he had heard connected with Whitley was No. 8, and the coach had mostly heard the senior was likely a mid-teens selection.
This year’s No. 1 pick belongs to the Arizona Diamondbacks, an organization that has had a consistent presence this spring at Whitley’s games. This past Friday, Arizona had former MLB star and 1993 World Series hero Joe Carter scouting Whitley’s game against Ballston Spa. Earlier in the week, Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart — another former MLB star — had attended a Niskayuna practice to watch Whitley hit.
“The Diamondbacks are here all the time. They’ve been around a ton,” said Furey. “They’ve been here a lot — and their next pick [after No. 1] is 43rd.”
Whitley could not be reached for comment Monday, but word has started to trickle out to him to expect to be a high pick. Niskayuna athletic director Larry Gillooley said that Whitley had been formally invited at the end of last week to attend this year’s MLB draft.
After a slow start to the season, by his standards, Whitley has heated up. Heading into Monday’s action, Whitley was hitting .354 with seven extra-base hits in 48 at-bats. The senior’s on-base percentage through 15 games played was .475, and he had stolen 11 bases in 11 tries.
“He’s been getting it going, hitting it more on the line,” said Furey, whose team’s final scheduled home game is set for Wednesday at 4:15 p.m. against Shenendehowa.
If picked at No. 1, Whitley could collect as much as $8.617 million from the Diamondbacks in the form of a signing bonus.
A mock draft released this weekend from Baseball America had Whitley as the No. 13 pick, which belongs to the Tampa Bay Rays.
This year’s MLB draft runs from June 8-10.
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Categories: High School Sports