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Saturday, June 09, 2007

The draft

This year, more so than other years (at least as far as this website is concerned) I was really looking forward to Major League Baseball's amateur free agent draft. 2007 has not been exactly a banner year for native Delawareans in the major leagues. Wayne Franklin joined Cliff Brumbaugh overseas. Chris Widger was not signed by anybody. John Mabry was released. Kevin Mench has spent more time on the bench in Milwaukee than the starting lineup. Only Ian Snell has been performing well in the majors this season, establishing himself as one of the better pitchers in the National League and getting a good start on being one of the best ever to hail from the First State.

The opportunity to get some fresh Delawarean blood in the minor league system and then hopefully the majors is exciting for me. I'd hate to think that in five years the only current updates to this site will be Snell's one or two starts a week. In terms of quantity, if not quality, the 2007 draft holds some promise compared to previous years.

The 2005 draft consisted of Delawareans John Dischert and Shane Erb. The highly touted Mark Romanczuk, commonly attributed to Delaware but actually a native of Pennsylvania, was also taken. Dischert opted to attend the University of Maryland where he pitched in 2006. He missed the entire 2007 season due to injury. Erb we will return to in a minute.

The 2006 draft was more sparse, with Robert Bryson being drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers out of William Penn High School. Bryson was a draft and follow and went to Seminole Community College in Florida. The Brewers signed him days before this year's draft and he will begin his professional career with the Helena Brewers in the near future.

2007 saw four Delawareans tabbed in the draft. The above mentioned Shane Erb was one, being selected by the Washington Nationals in the 38th round. Erb has been attending baseball factory Hillsborough Community College after playing his high school ball at Father Judge High School in Lewes.

Brett Oberholtzer was taken by the Seattle Mariners in the 47th round. Oberholtzer has already made his plans clear in that he intends to follow former high school teammate Bryson's path and go to Seminole.

The other two Delawareans to be drafted are Blue Hens. Pitchers William Harris and Charles Kerfoot were taken by the Phillies (25th round) and the Oakland Athletics (30th round), respectively. The pair were part of a record five University of Delaware Blue Hens to be drafted this year.

Suddenly Delaware has become a developer of pitchers which, given that the last native Delawarean to pitch in 150 games was Renie Martin, is potentially exciting for those of us who follow the baseball careers of those born in Delaware.


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