Star-Bulletin Sports

Sunday, June 2, 2002


Trapasso hopes recruiting
class breezes through
draft unscathed

By Al Chase

Hawaii baseball coach Mike Trapasso will watch Major League Baseball's First-Year Player Draft closely this week.

He is confident none of his recruits will be high picks where the big money waits, but said, "You never know when someone you didn't expect to be chosen is taken and signs."

The results will determine how much follow-up work Trapasso needs to do this summer in trying to keep those recruits he has signed to play for UH next year.

The Rainbows coach considers the recruit, his situation and whether he is a high school or junior college player when talking with a prospect who has been drafted.

"I feel strongly in a high school player really taking his time and looking at the draft from a life perspective, make it a life decision not an economic decision," Trapasso said. "Now, when you are drafted in the first couple of rounds and you have the chance to get a couple million dollars, that economic decision becomes a life decision because that money should set you up for life.

"I also believe in the value of education, and this is where I show kids the numbers that don't lie. In the history of the draft, the success rate of kids signing out of high school and kids signing out of college, it's higher for kids signed out of college.

"Does that mean college kids are more talented? No, it has nothing to do with tools, that's all you are drafted on is tools. But the reason guys will stay in the minor leagues, move up in a system, make it in the big leagues and stay for five or six years and more when you really start making the big bucks, is the emotional maturity that allows these kids to survive the minor league lifestyle, retain and learn and improve and have that success."

Only about 10 percent of players drafted make it to the major leagues. Since the draft began, of those who do make it, the average number of years it takes for a high school player is 6.5 and for a college player it is 3.5.

For first-round picks only, the average time for a college player to make it to the show is two years, four months and it is four years, one month for a high school player.

Interestingly, 66 Hawaii high school players have been drafted with exactly half signing. Of the 33 who signed, four -- Doug Capilla, Joey DeSa, Sid Fernandez and Onan Masaoka -- played in the majors. Of the 33 who did not sign out of high school, most went on to junior college or college, but only 13 were drafted again. Joey Meyer and Mike Fetters are the only players from the latter group to play in the majors.

"I've had a lot of success with guys who were solid draft choices, turned down some money and went on to play college ball," Trapasso said.

"I'm not knocking pro ball. That's the last thing I want to do. I had a great time playing pro ball. All I'm showing is that you have to be ready for it. That comes from maturity. It's a job and it's a very competitive environment. The talent clusters the higher the level you go and people have to realize that.

"If I'm greedy and want it all, I go to college, have a great college experience, then skip rookie ball and go right into high A."

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