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Published: Saturday, 6/9/2007

Local pitchers tabbed in baseball draft

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

The good news was several local baseball players were selected in Major League Baseball's amateur draft, which concluded yesterday.

The bad news for two of those players was that they were not selected as highly as draft prognosticators projected.

The top local player selected was Connor Graham, a Bowling Green native who pitched at St. John's Jesuit High School. Graham, a right-handed pitcher who just finished his junior year at Miami (Ohio), was selected in the fifth round by Colorado with the 162nd overall choice.

Baseball America ranked the 6-7, 240-pound Graham as the 90th-best prospect in this year's draft.

"I'm still excited because this is a great honor," Graham said. "But I learned in high school that you never know what will happen in the draft.

"Some times you slip down from where you expect to be drafted."

Graham said he already has spoken with the Rockies' scout for the state of Ohio, Ed Santa, but no contract details were discussed.

Graham said he and Santa will meet again in the next couple of weeks.

"I'm not sure what I'm going to do now," Graham admitted. "[Signing] is up in the air right now. I can't say I'm leaning either way."

Graham was expected to be taken in the first couple of rounds of the draft, as was another local pitcher - Bryan native Chris Carpenter.

While Baseball America expected Carpenter to be among the higher draftees this year, Carpenter was not chosen until the New York Yankees used the final selection of the 18th round, pick number 574, to take him.

"When I wasn't selected the first day I was a little disappointed," Carpenter admitted.

Carpenter realized that his problem was his recent spate of injuries. He missed his freshman season at Kent State because of Tommy John surgery in 2005, then had another surgery in 2006. He was 4-1 with a 4.50 ERA in 12 appearances for the Golden Flashes this spring.

"I knew that, going in [to the draft], the biggest concern of teams was with injuries," Carpenter said. "Without the injuries I felt I would have been a first-round pick, but I think teams were leery of the risks."

Carpenter said he will spend the summer pitching for Chatham in the Cape Cod League before negotiating with the Yankees in an attempt to prove his injuries are behind him.

"I think, other than being a first-round pick, this might have been the best other possible situation for me," Carpenter said. "The Yankees are not afraid to pay over slot, and they are willing to pay a player what he's worth.

"And I still look at myself as a first or second-round talent."

Among the other local players selected in the 50-round draft was University of Toledo third baseman Scott Boley. Boley was taken in the 46th round by Kansas City with pick number 1,347.

Contact John Wagner at:

jwagner@theblade.com

or 419-724-6481.



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