Blake Brown called it a “great honor” to be selected in the 48th round of Major League Baseball’s first-year player draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday. Still, the Normal West High School standout does not expect that honor to result in signing a contract to join the Pittsburgh organization.■ Dane Opel also was drafted well below his value, perhaps for the same reason, according to bnd.com:
“I’m still pretty sure I’ll go to college, get my education and develop there,” said Brown, a Missouri recruit. “I would never rule it out, but it would have to be a good offer to be worth forgoing college.”
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West coach Chris Hawkins believes Brown would have been drafted several rounds higher if not for his stated intention to enroll at Missouri.
“The Browns were honest with scouts from the start,” Hawkins said. “I’m sure Pittsburgh will still make an offer, but it would have to be an extraordinary offer to forgo his opportunity at Missouri.”
"Signability" is the buzzword of the 2009 Major League Draft, and that may help explain why it took 41 rounds before Edwardsville High senior outfielder Dane Opel's name surfaced. The University of Missouri recruit was selected by the Washington Nationals in the 41st round Wednesday with the 1,222nd overall pick.■ It's good to be King (Kirksville Daily Express) talks about MU recruit Cody King:
"I don't' think where a guy's drafted designates his value," said Edwardsville High School baseball coach Tim Funkhouser. "It's more whether he's going to be signable at a particular number. He's got good options at Mizzou, and if it works out between him and the (Nationals), then he'll have two good options there."
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" Mizzou's a great option. Any time you commit to a school that's one of the upper echelon schools ... with the success their program's had in the Big 12, that's a great option," Funkhouser said. "With college baseball the way it is today, more kids are heading towards college unless they're in the upper rounds --or if they get upper-round money."
The Missouri recruit finished his career No. 1 in the KHS record books with 24 wins, 283 strikeouts, 12 complete games, four shutouts and 10 saves. His wins tie him for 21st all-time in state history and his 10.5 strikeouts per seven innings place him 10th all-time.
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King finished the season with a 9-2 record and a 3.24 ERA with three complete games and a shutout. He struck out 95 in 54 innings and walked 30.
Jackson said King showed some resiliency this season after getting off to a rough start, giving up eight runs in an inning and a third in the season opener against Hannibal.
“His ERA was less than two after that game,” Jackson said.
King said he learned a lot after that disastrous outing.
“Mainly, I had the feeling that I needed to get ahead of the hitters and I would fare a lot better if I did that,” he said.
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“[King] has to become dedicated to the weight room,” he said. “The successful pitchers have all been dedicated to weights and all of them have added some speed to their pitches. Crow, Gibson, and Scherzer all have fastballs in the mid-90s, and that’s due to work in the weight room.”
King’s fastball has been clocked in the mid-90s.
One of the things that makes King special is his ability to handle pressure.
“[King] was the ace of our staff ever since we brought him up as a freshman,” Jackson said. “He’s never acted any differently because of that. He was one of our few bright spots as a freshman and he has been a workhorse ever since, doing whatever it takes to be successful.
“As good of an athlete as he is, he’s an even better person.”