Last year, Chris Mabeus sat through three days of Major League Baseball's first-year player draft, waiting for a phone call that never came.
This year, Mabeus didn't have to wait long at all for the call telling him he had been drafted by a major league organization.
Mabeus, a graduate of Soldotna High School, was selected by the Oakland Athletics in the 13th round of the major league draft Tuesday. He was the 401st overall pick in this year's draft.
"I was just sitting around waiting for a phone call and watching the radio broadcast on MLB.com," Mabeus said by phone from Lewiston, Idaho. "I woke up at 10 a.m. (8 a.m. ADT), that's when it started, and it was about noon when I heard my name called."
Mabeus, a right-handed pitcher, had been selected in the 1999 draft by the Boston Red Sox in the 37th round after two seasons at Eastern Arizona Junior College, but opted to take his talent to NAIA-power Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston. He played a key role in the Warriors' 2000 NAIA World Series championship season, and helped the team to a second-place finish this year.
"I was a second-team all-American, and that's an outstanding honor," Mabeus said. "Individually, my season turned out great. I would have liked to have gone out with a national championship, but we got second place, and it's pretty rare to play in two national championships in two years."
The MLB.com scouting report on Mabeus describes him as having a "fastball that both tails and sinks when down, mostly 88 to 90 miles per hour," and a "splitter (that) has late tumble action."
Mabeus was expected by many to go fairly early in the 2000 draft, but he said he learned from the experience of not being selected.
"It went a lot better this year," Mabeus said. "Last year, there was the shock of reality. I didn't have too high hopes for this year. I just wanted a chance to prove I could get guys out in professional baseball, but I didn't expect to be drafted that high because of last year."
In addition to his time spent at Lewis-Clark State and Eastern Arizona, Mabeus' pitching resume includes three seasons with the Peninsula Oilers of the Alaska Baseball League, as well as several years with the American Legion Post 20 Twins. His love for baseball began during his Soldotna Little League days.
"I couldn't have been where I am today without starting in Soldotna Little League and then moving up through Alaska Legion ball and playing for Lance Coz," Mabeus said. "The best thing that happened was getting the opportunity from Mike Baxter to play for the Oilers.
"It can happen to anybody, even in Soldotna, Alaska. You only play for a few months out of the year, but you need to make the most of those few months, and you don't need to go far to play some of the best summer baseball in the country."
Mabeus said that having a definite plan for the future has been a relief for his family.
"My wife and I can start making plans for the future," Mabeus said. "I believe that I'll be going to Vancouver, British Columbia, for a short season of A ball.
"My scout told me he'd give me two weeks off, and I might head up to Soldotna and maybe train with the Oilers, or I might stay here and train with some of my college teammates."
Mabeus said he expects to sign a contract that will pay him less than $900 a month, but he plans on earning every penny.
"I'm not expecting to make a million dollars just by signing my name," Mabeus said. "I'll expect to have to go out and work my way up through the minors."
HEAD:Twins make Mauer first pick in draft
NEW YORK (AP) -- The Minnesota Twins made one of their biggest fans a major part of their future.
Joe Mauer, a left-handed hitting high school catcher from Cretin-Derham Hall in St. Paul, Minn., was taken by the Twins with the No. 1 pick in Tuesday's baseball draft.
''I followed Kent Hrbek and Kirby Puckett and all those guys,'' the 18-year-old Mauer said. ''This is kind of a fairy tale.''
Mauer, a right-handed thrower, joined Danny Goodwin (Chicago White Sox, 1971) and David Clyde (Texas, 1973) as the only players to be chosen by their home state teams with the No. 1 pick.
''We've had a chance to follow him for the past three or four years,'' Minnesota general manager Terry Ryan said. ''We know a lot about his makeup and skill level. This is a natural for the Minnesota Twins. I don't know if you could write a better script.''
Southern California right-hander Mark Prior, considered by some as the greatest college pitcher ever, was taken by the Cubs with the second pick.
Next, Tampa Bay selected Middle Tennessee State right-hander Dewon Brazelton; Philadelphia took high school right-hander Gavin Floyd; and Georgia Tech third baseman Mark Teixeira was chosen by Texas with the fifth pick.
Rolando Viera, a Cuban pitcher who was denied a request for free agency Monday, was drafted in the seventh round by Boston with the 213th pick.
Alan Gura, one of Viera's attorneys, told Judge James Whittemore that entering Viera in the draft would force the pitcher to consider leaving the United States with no assurances of being allowed to return. But the judge disagreed.
The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Mauer was a standout in baseball, basketball and football, and has accepted a scholarship to play quarterback at Florida State.
''Right now, I just want to enjoy this,'' said Mauer, the first catcher drafted with the top pick since Milwaukee took B.J. Surhoff in 1985. He hit .605 with 14 homers and 46 RBIs this season.
Prior, 14-1 with a 1.50 ERA, had a school- and Pac-10 conference-record 189 strikeouts and just 17 walks in 131 2-3 innings for the College World Series-bound Trojans. Some scouts think the 6-5, 220-pound Prior could be an effective major league pitcher right now.
Brazelton went from being an unknown pitcher to one of the best in college after going 6-0 with a Team USA-record 0.65 ERA last summer.
Floyd, from Mt. St. Joseph High School in Maryland, has a fastball that touches the mid-90s, a knee-buckling curve, and excellent command.
Teixeira, considered one of college baseball's greatest switch-hitters, was sidelined for 10 weeks with a broken right ankle, but healed in time for the NCAA tournament, where he showed he hadn't lost his sweet stroke.
With the sixth overall pick, Montreal took UCLA right-hander Josh Karp, who was impressive with Team USA last summer.
Next, Baltimore took Chris Smith, a left-hander from Cumberland University in Tennessee, who helped lead Florida State to the College World Series last season as an outfielder.
John VanBenschoten, a right-handed pitcher and first baseman from Kent State who led the country with 31 home runs, went to Pittsburgh with the eighth pick.
Colt Griffin, a right-hander from Marshall High School in Texas who threw a 100-mph pitch in front of dozens of scouts two months ago, was taken with the ninth pick by Kansas City.
Houston selected Tennessee infielder Chris Burke, the Southeastern Conference player of the year, with the 10th pick. He broke Todd Helton's school records for career hits, runs scored.
Rice right-hander Kenny Baugh was drafted by Detroit with the 11th pick. Next, Milwaukee took right-hander Mike Jones from Thunderbird H.S. in Arizona.
Casey Kotchman, the son of Anaheim minor league manager and scout Tom Kotchman, was selected out of Seminole H.S. in Florida by the Angels with the 13th pick.
Tulane third baseman Jake Gautreau, who had a Division I-leading 91 RBIs, was taken by San Diego with the 14th pick.
Auburn outfielder Gabe Gross went to Toronto with the 15th pick. Kris Honel, a righty from Providence Catholic H.S. in Illinois, was taken next by the Chicago White Sox. Cleveland selected right-hander Dan Denham from Deer Valley H.S. in California with the 17th pick.
The New York Mets took Notre Dame right-hander Aaron Heilman next. Baltimore selected Louisiana State second baseman Mike Fontenot with the 19th pick. Left-hander Jeremy Sowers, from Ballard H.S. in Kentucky, was the 20th pick by Cincinnati.
Youngstown State right-hander Brad Hennessey went to San Francisco with the next pick. Arizona chose Valdosta State righty Jason Bulger with the 22nd pick. Florida State outfielder John-Ford Griffin went to the Yankees at No. 23. Left-hander Macay McBride, from Screven County H.S. in Georgia, was selected next by Atlanta.
Oakland took Long Beach State shortstop Bobby Crosby and high school right-hander Jeremy Bonderman with consecutive picks. Bonderman, a junior from Pasco H.S. in Washington, declared for the draft and was granted eligibility because he is 18 and received a general equivalency diploma.
Cleveland took right-hander Alan Horne, from Marianna H.S. in Florida, with the 27th pick. Next, St, Louis selected Central Florida right-hander Justin Pope. Atlanta took shortstop Josh Burrus from Wheeler H.S. in Georgia, with the 29th pick. Pepperdine lefty Noah Lowry was taken by San Francisco with the last pick of the first round.
Matt Harrington, a right-hander drafted by Colorado with the seventh pick last year and the only first-round pick who didn't sign, re-entered the draft after a bitter contract dispute. He was picked in the second round by San Diego with the 58th pick.
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