Seven local players taken on final day of MLB draft
As a fifth-year senior, Pitt catcher Kevan Smith held no leverage to negotiate in the MLB draft.
So when the Chicago White Sox took him in the seventh round, the all-Big East slugger expected a token signing bonus.
"I was ready to sign for $1,000 and a plane ticket," he said. "They ended up giving me $60,000."
It was a good day for Pitt baseball players all the way around.
Four Panthers were picked Wednesday as the first-year player draft ended.
Four seniors — first baseman David Chester (33rd round, Boston), outfielder John Schultz (34th round, Florida), second baseman Travis Whitmore (35th round, San Diego) and pitcher Corey Baker (49th round, St. Louis) — combined with seventh-rounders Smith and junior pitcher Ray Black to give Pitt a school-record six players selected.
The previous high for Pitt was three, which happened four times, most recently in 2010. A record 40 Big East players went in the three-day, 50-round draft.
"I was getting real nervous for a while," said the 6-foot-5, 270-pound Chester, a Tulsa, Okla., native who hit a Big East-leading 16 home runs. "I was thinking I might not get my chance. I was hoping for that call, and I finally got it."
Pine-Richland shortstop Zac LaNeve, a North Carolina recruit, went in the 44th round to the Florida Marlins, and Seneca Valley second baseman Jack Graham went in the 50th round — pick No. 1521 out of 1530 — to the Chicago White Sox. Former Seneca Valley star and Liberty (Va.) infielder Tyler Bream, son of former Pirates first baseman Sid Bream, was a 42nd-round pick of the Diamondbacks.
"I'm kind of leaning toward school," LaNeve said. "I've got a good situation at North Carolina, and it would be pretty tough to pass up."
Schultz, who hit .341 for Pitt, will sign with the Marlins and report to rookie ball in Florida. He was overlooked coming out of Wilson High School.
"I know baseball will end someday," he said. "I think going in with that mindset will help me. I will give my best shot, whether I have a one-year career or 10 years."
The 6-3, 240-pound Smith, who hit a team-high .397 this season, has room to grow after spending his first three years on the Pitt football team. The former Seneca Valley star said White Sox reps are coming Friday to finalize a deal, at which point he will report to rookie ball at Great Falls, Mont., or Bristol, Va.
"Technically, I feel like I'm a sophomore," Smith said. "That's why a lot of teams were interested in me. They saw how much I've improved, and my upside and untapped ability."
The draft wasn't all positive for Pitt. Panthers recruit Justin Bianco, a star outfielder at Peters Township High School, is expected to sign with the Diamondbacks as a third-round pick.
Panthers manager Joe Jordano said losing recruits to the draft is bittersweet, but it reflects well on a rising Pitt baseball program.
"When you are attracting that type of player," he said, "you are in the right living room."Additional Information:
Here is a list of the local players taken during the final day of the Major League Baseball first-year player draft:
Round 33: David Chester, 1B, Pitt ? Boston
34: John Schultz, LF, Pitt ? Florida
35: Travis Whitmore, 2B, Pitt ? San Diego
42: Tyler Bream, 3B, Seneca Valley/Liberty ? Arizona
44: Matt LaNeve, SS, Pine-Richland • Florida
49: Corey Baker, RHP, Pitt St. Louis
50: Jack Graham, 2B, Seneca Valley ? Chicago White Sox
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates must weigh risk, reward in attempt to sign Martin
- Pirates acquire infielder from Indians, designate Axford, Gomez for assignment
- Pirates to end spring in Philadelphia again, sign Stinson to minor league deal
- Pirates acquire Orioles reliever, designate Tabata for assignment