CH's Minor Considers Draft by Major League Tampa Bay

Monday, June 12, 2006
#12 Mikie Minor in the Dugout during the Rockets' State Tournament run.

Rocket baseball fans had do doubts it would happen and on Tuesday their confidence was confirmed when Mikie Minor was drafted by Major League Baseball's Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Minor's arm helped propel the Rockets to their first even State Tournament appearance this season and led them to a Class A State Runner-up finish. Minor, who has already signed to play at Vanderbilt, completed his senior campaign with a state-record 21-strikeout game in the regular season and tied teammate Jeremy Lamb for a State Tournament record three homeruns. A 6'3" and 175lbs, Minor wowed coaches and batters all season long. He allowed only one earned run during the season and pitched three no-hitters during the Rockets' Region and State Tournament run. He averaged 15 strikeouts per game this season.

Named to Louisville Slugger's Preseason First Team High School All-America, Baseball America rated Minor the seventh best prospect out of Tennessee and the second best left-hander.

On Tuesday, Minor was the 379th player selected in the draft and the 13th pick for the Devil Rays. The Devil Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman was surprised that Minor was still around in the 13th round of the draft.

"We were really excited to see [Minor] on the board," Friedman said. "Our guys think really highly of him."

Eleven of the Rays' 18 picks were used to draft pitchers, of which six were college pitchers.

Evan Longoria's selection set the tone for the Devil Rays during the first day of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft on Tuesday.

Josh Butler, a 6-foot-5, 200 pound right-hander from the University of San Diego, became the Rays' second pick.

Friedman said stocking the organization with more arms is important -- even if they aren't high picks.

"If you go back and look at our draft history, a lot of our success has been pitchers taken in the later rounds," Friedman said. "And really, if you look around baseball, it doesn't necessarily have to be a top round pick to be a successful pitcher. The guy who got the win for us last night, Jamie Shields, I think, was a 17th rounder.

"There's a lot of guys who have success at the big-league level who weren't drafted in the first five picks. So it's really a numbers game, and we were aggressive drafting as many pitchers as we felt fit the spot."

Minor is currently pitching with the Brentwood Bulldogs this summer and has not been available for comment as he is talking with his parents about his options and his future. During the season, Minor has said that he would likely go pro if drafted; but if the situation is not his best option, Minor said he would go to Vanderbilt to pitch with the Commodores. Minor is one of six Commodores to be drafted this week.

If Minor decides to sign with Tampa Bay, he would likely be sent to the franchise's Rookie League team in Princeton, West Va. The Devil Rays also have Single-A teams in Hudson Valley, N.Y. and Battle Creek, Mich.