Sports

Jun 4, 2011 2:23 AM by Andrew Masuda

Cal Poly baseball players await calls during next week's Major League Draft

Cal Poly's Baggett Stadium has served as a field of dreams for 27 Mustangs, who've become Major League draft picks since 2006. Nearly half a dozen more could receive calls in next week's draft, including junior pitcher Jeff Johnson.

"I've been looking forward to this moment for a long time. So I'm definitely pretty ecstatic that it's finally here and it's pretty much all that I have in my mind," said Johnson. He's received interest from the Indians and Red Sox after posting a 1.63 ERA with 40 strikeouts in 27 2/3 innings this spring.

Santa Barbara native Mason Radeke is also expected to go. The junior was an All-Big West First Team pitcher after finishing second in conference with 8 wins and 95 strikeouts. "I don't have really high expectations, but I'm hoping for the best," said Radeke, who was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 41st round in the 2008 Draft right out of high school. "I'm just looking to progress my career and go forward."

Junior outfielder Bobby Crocker improved his draft stock this spring by leading the mustangs in batting average (.339), runs (37), hits (64) and stolen bases (9). "I'm obviously excited. It's something that I'm ready to do and I'm ready to go," said Crocker, an All-Big West First Team pick in 2011. "I'm just going to let things fall into place and see where it takes me." Crocker was also drafted out of high school in 2008 in the 38th round by the Oakland Athletics.

Infielders Matt Jensen and JJ Thompson, outfielder DJ Gentile, as well as pitcher Steven Fischback could also be drafted. For Fischback, a senior right handed pitcher, who shined in 2011 after missing two years with arm problems, just the possibility of pursuing his dream is enough. "I thought it was a door that was pretty much closed at the start of the season. I didn't even think that I would throw 20 innings this year, let alone be a starter," said Fischback, who finished with a 7-3 record and a 3.33 ERA in 92 innings in 2011. " Just having a chance to get my name called would be pretty cool."

The three-day draft starts on Monday, June 6 at 4pm PDT with the first round. Rounds 2-30 will take place on Tuesday, while rounds 31-50 will be next Wednesday.

It would not be a stretch to say these major league hopefuls have another obstacle on deck to overcome first. "I'll be studying for finals," said Radeke when asked if he would be paying much attention to the draft next week. "I have a final on Tuesday. I'm not going to think about it and wait for them to call me."

Last year, three Mustangs were taken on the final day of the draft. The most Cal Poly players taken in one draft was eight in 2008. The Mustangs have had 14 players selected in the first ten rounds of the seven drafts held since 2004.

The highest drafted Mustang was catcher John Orton, who was the 25th overall pick in the 1987 draft. Pitcher Garrett Olson went with the 48th pick in the 2005 draft. Major League and Cal Poly Hall of the Famer Ozzie Smith was the 86th overall pick in the 1977 draft.

Several other players from UCSB and local junior colleges could receive calls next week and become draft picks. San Marcos High's Riley Moore and Arroyo Grande High's Kyle Raubinger are two of the local high school players, who could also be drafted next week.

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