MLB FIRST-YEAR PLAYER DRAFT
6 get calls on Day 2 of draft
Kalani's Carpenter among 6 MLB Hawaii draftees
It wasn't the best showing for local products hoping to land a spot in the just-completed Major League Baseball's first-year player draft as only six players with ties to Hawaii were selected in rounds six through 50.
Drafted players with Hawaii ties
Tyler Davis, P, UH
Keoni Ruth, IF, Kamehameha Schools
Ian Harrington, P, UH
Justin Frash, IF, UH
Lars Knepper, P, UH-Hilo
Ridge Carpenter, OF, Kalani High School
After no players from the islands were picked in the first five rounds on Thursday, right-handed pitcher Tyler Davis of the University of Hawaii was chosen by San Diego in the 21st round with the 657th overall pick. Davis was one of three Rainbows selected. The other two were pitcher Ian Harrington and third baseman Justin Frash.
Harrington was selected by Arizona in the 23rd round and Frash went in the 27th to Oakland. The other three local picks were Kamehameha's Keoni Ruth, UH Hilo's Lars Knepper and 18-year-old Ridge Carpenter of Kalani High School.
Ruth was drafted twice previously, but elected to play at the University of San Diego and NAIA Concordia (Calif.). He went in the 22nd round yesterday to San Diego. Knepper went to San Francisco in the 29th round and Boston selected Carpenter in the 32nd.
Ridge Carpenter is a flier in more ways than one.
The Boston Red Sox aren't counting on the 18-year-old speedster to patrol center field at Fenway Park anytime soon -- if ever. But Carpenter, who graduated from Kalani High School last week, has enough raw talent to merit a 32nd-round pick.
Carpenter was among six players with Hawaii ties chosen in yesterday's sixth-50th rounds of Major League Baseball's first-year player draft. He is the only prep athlete selected from the islands this year.
No Hawaii players were chosen in the first five rounds, and six is the fewest isle draftees since 1998 produced five.
"I kind of knew this would happen, but I'm still surprised," said Carpenter, who was the 983rd overall pick of the draft. "I've been strictly a baseball player, no other sports, but I still never thought this day would come."
The 6-foot, 170-pound Carpenter is an intriguing, if raw, prospect. He played right field and batted leadoff for the Falcons and hit more than .500. Red Sox area scout Wally Komatsubara projects Carpenter as a center fielder with speed and possibly power.
"We found him to have speed and a good batting stroke. And for a high school guy, he has power potential," Komatsubara said. "He has a lot of leverage. He could sign or he could go to school."
Carpenter said his educational opportunities for now are limited to junior colleges. He said he is looking at Hartnell College (Calif.).
"I'm really not sure what I will do yet. I'll discuss it with my parents," Carpenter said. "If I feel ready and the money's right, I'll go (pro)."
The Red Sox might make Carpenter's decision easy for him one way or the other. Komatsubara said the club hasn't had a cross-checker look at the player yet, so Carpenter will work out for one in the coming weeks. That could have a huge bearing on his signing bonus and where he is assigned.
The other five isle selections are three University of Hawaii players, one from Hawaii-Hilo and a former Kamehameha standout. All are done with their college eligibility and ready to sign.
Tyler Davis, a right-handed pitcher from UH, was chosen by the San Diego Padres in the 21st round with the 657th overall pick.
Davis said he has been assigned to the Class A Eugene (Ore.) Emeralds of the Northwest League. The season starts June 19.
"This is awesome, I'm very happy I'm getting a chance," said Davis, who was born in San Diego, but moved to Northern California with his family at age 2. "I'm very excited, but I know the journey is not over, there's still a lot of hard work ahead."
Davis was 8-4 with a 4.18 ERA and seven saves in two years at Manoa. He said he hasn't been told if the Padres want to develop him as a reliever or starter.
The Padres also took Kamehameha graduate Keoni Ruth, a college player at the University of San Diego and NAIA Concordia (Calif.), in the 22nd round with the 687th selection. Ruth said he thinks he will probably also be assigned to Eugene.
"I'm pretty sure that's where I'll be going, but there's no official word yet," Ruth said. "I'm excited to get going."
Ruth was drafted twice previously; the Royals picked him in the 17th round out of high school in 2003, and the Cubs selected him, again in the 17th round, last year. Ruth would have been chosen higher in the 2006 draft, but he dislocated his left (non-throwing) shoulder in NCAA Regional play.
"The shoulder didn't bother me at all this year," he said. "I'm in good shape and ready to go."
Left-handed pitcher Ian Harrington of UH was picked by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 23rd round, 703rd overall. Harrington was 16-11 with a 4.16 ERA for the Rainbows in two years.
"Monday I go to Tucson for a physical and then go to camp," Harrington said. "Then they'll decide if I go to Yakima (Wash.) or Missoula (Mont.)"
Harrington said he hasn't thrown since the end of UH's season at the Western Athletic Conference tournament two weeks ago.
"But I've been running and lifting weights," he said. "(Today) I'll get out there and throw a little to stay loose."
UH third baseman Justin Frash was chosen 840th overall, in the 27th round, by the Oakland A's. Frash said he thinks he will be assigned to Vancouver, but he doesn't know what position he'll be asked to play.
"It could be catcher, second base or third," he said.
The A's organization is a good fit for Frash, since it puts a premium on players with productive stats, especially high on-base percentages. Frash posted a .471 on-base percentage in 2007, with 48 walks in 261 plate appearances. He batted .353 in his two-year Rainbows career.
Lars Knepper, a Hawaii-Hilo right-handed pitcher, was taken 884th overall, in the 29th round, by the San Francisco Giants.
Knepper kept a winning attitude, despite a record of 3-8 this year, Hilo coach Joey Estrella said. Knepper had an excellent ratio of 81 strikeouts to 23 walks in 80 1/3 innings.
"I think Lars possesses the right competitive demeanor to succeed. He's a gamer," Estrella said. "Given the right situation, he could be very successful. He came from a very successful JC program (Bellevue, Wash.). He didn't win as much here, but he remained a great teammate. And it didn't faze him."
No incoming members of UH's recruiting class were drafted, nor any Hawaii underclassmen.
Former Hawaii first baseman Eli Rimes, who transferred to Sonoma State, was taken in 25th round by Cincinnati.
Star-Bulletin reporter Al Chase contributed to this story
Drafted players with Hawaii ties