Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

First Coast's Top Three Play Draft Waiting Game

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

First Coast's Top Three Play Draft Waiting Game

Article excerpt

Byline: Chase Goodbread, Times-Union sports writer

Dusty Gomon, Taylor Cobb and Josh Deel, who will likely be the first three high school players from the Jacksonville area selected in the amateur baseball draft that begins today, know better than to make assumptions.

People who should know have told them they will be picked between this round and that round. Other people who should know -- scouts, coaches, anyone with a connection -- have told them something else.

All they can do is wait on a draft that is notorious for its unpredictability.

"I've heard I could go in the top five rounds, but you try not to get your hopes up and just wait to see what happens," said Gomon, a power-hitting first baseman from Parker.

Gomon, who also can play outfield, is projected by Baseball America as a sixth-round pick. Deel of Wolfson should follow, though his round is a tougher call, with scouts suggesting anything from rounds 10-25.

All have improved their draft standing in the past two weeks.

Cobb, a Bolles pitcher who has signed with Central Florida, reached 92 mph with his fastball in the FACA All-Star game in Sebring last weekend, a clocking that may move him up in the draft, possibly between Gomon and Deel.

Deel, like Cobb a right-hander, fired 2 1/3 scoreless innings with six strikeouts in the North Florida Coaches Association All-Star game at Bishop Kenny two weeks ago, with scouts on hand measuring his velocity as well. He threw an inordinate amount of curveballs in that appearance with the intention of showing scouts he has a second pitch he can rely on, not just a fastball.

The curveball got him ahead in the count to set up most of those strikeouts.

"That game went just how I hoped it would," Deel said.

"His stock went up in that game," Wolfpack coach Scott Marabell said. "I've heard he could sneak into the 12-15th-round range, but you can never tell."

Gomon's batting practice at the same all-star game impressed scouts. He hit several balls over the fence at BK, which has one of the deepest high school outfields in town. At a subsequent all-star appearance in Sebring, Gomon showed well again. …

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