Tampa Bay makes high school outfielder Delmon Young top draft pick

Posted: Wednesday, June 04, 2003

NEW YORK Delmon Young sat in front of his computer with family, friends and high school teammates and coaches, waiting to find out when he would be selected in Tuesday's baseball draft.

He didn't have to wait long.

And when the Tampa Bay Devil Rays took Young with the No. 1 pick, a roar filled Young's Southern California home.

''It was like the NCAA selection show or something everyone started jumping up and down and going crazy,'' said Young, a slugging outfielder from Camarillo High School who listened to the draft on major league baseball's Web site. ''Being the No. 1 pick is a great opportunity and it means a lot to me.''

Young, the brother of Detroit Tigers outfielder Dmitri Young, thought the Devil Rays were going to take Southern University second baseman Rickie Weeks who ended up going second to Milwaukee.

''I had all my Brewers stuff ready to go,'' Young said.

Young, 17, hit .544 with seven home runs and 28 RBIs and was intentionally walked 26 times this season for Camarillo High School. Young, 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds, has starred at the high school level for several years and shown great power potential and patience at the plate, an outstanding arm and good speed.

''He should develop into a fine major league hitter,'' Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella said. ''With his brother at the big league level, the genes already are good. It was a wise selection and I just hope it pans out quickly.''

Dmitri Young, the fourth overall selection by St. Louis in the 1991 draft, was with his younger brother because the Tigers were playing at San Diego later Tuesday.

''I never thought about the draft and going higher than him,'' said Delmon, whose goal is to be in the majors within two years.

The Devil Rays wrestled between picking Young and Weeks, before going with Young, widely regarded as the top high school position player available. The thinking was similar to the last time they had the No. 1 pick and took outfielder Josh Hamilton in 1999.

Weeks certainly made a case for himself with one of the best college careers in Division I history. Weeks hit .483 with 17 homers and 73 RBIs and will be the second player to lead the nation in batting for two straight seasons.

Undrafted out of high school, Weeks has been praised for his speed and power.

Detroit took Wake Forest right-hander Kyle Sleeth with the third pick. He tied the NCAA record with 26 consecutive victories, and was 7-3 with a 2.81 ERA this season. Drafted in the 18th round by Baltimore three years ago, he had been more highly regarded as a football player.

Richmond University right-hander Tim Stauffer, a strikeout artist who was 9-5 with a 1.97 ERA and 146 strikeouts in 114 innings this season, was taken by San Diego with the fourth pick.

Kansas City then drafted speedy outfielder Chris Lubanski, from Kennedy-Kenrick High School in Pennsylvania.

The Royals also took Toledo catcher Mitch Maier with the 30th overall selection.

Ryan Harvey, a five-tools outfielder from Dunedin High School in Florida, was selected next by the Chicago Cubs.

Baltimore took Nick Markakis, a left-handed pitcher and outfielder from Young Harris Junior College in Georgia with the seventh pick. He was the junior college player of the year last season and was drafted by Cincinnati in the 23rd round, but didn't sign.

''We feel like we've got two players in one,'' Orioles scouting director Tony DeMacio said.

Mississippi State left-hander Paul Maholm, who has a four-pitch arsenal, went to Pittsburgh with the eighth pick.

Texas chose John Danks, considered one of the top lefties in the draft, from Round Rock High School in Texas with the next pick.

Ian Stewart, a left-handed slugging third baseman from La Quinta High School in California, went 10th to Colorado.

Next, Cleveland took Tulane first baseman Michael Aubrey; the Indians also drafted Ball State outfielder Brad Snyder with the 18th selection.

The New York Mets selected outfielder Lastings Milledge from Lakewood Ranch High School in Florida with the 12th pick. LSU shortstop Aaron Hill was taken next by Toronto. University of Houston closer Ryan Wagner, a hard-throwing right-hander, went next to Cincinnati, and the Chicago White Sox took University of Arizona outfielder Brian Anderson with the 15th pick.

There were 17 Division I college players and one junior college player taken in the first round. Oakland followed its recent trend in taking college players selecting University of Houston right-hander Brad Sullivan and Stetson third baseman Brian Snyder with the 25th and 26th picks.

Arizona also went with college players with its two first-round picks: University of California third baseman Conor Jackson at No. 19 and Stanford outfielder Carlos Quentin at No. 29.

Seattle, Atlanta, Houston and Philadelphia didn't have picks in the first round.

San Diego State outfielder Anthony Gwynn, the son of Tony Gwynn, was taken by Milwaukee with the second pick of the second round the 39th overall selection.

Other sons of former major leaguers were drafted during the first day, which lasted 20 rounds, including: Southern California right-hander Brian Bannister, son of Floyd Bannister and a seventh-round pick of the New York Mets; UNLV first baseman Fernando Valenzuela Jr., son of Fernando Valenzuela, to San Diego in the 10th round; and North Carolina State outfielder Joe Gaetti, son of Gary Gaetti, picked in the 12th round by Colorado.

The draft, which lasts 50 rounds, will continue Wednesday.

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