JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Mililani right-hander Dustin Antolin is one of many local ballplayers with a chance to be picked in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, which starts tomorrow.
Mililani’s Antolin amped about MLB draft
Several local baseball players are hoping to hear their names called during the draft
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The two-day Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft begins tomorrow and concludes Friday.
That means two days of wait-and-see for prospects hoping to get a call as well as college coaches waiting to see how the draft might impact their programs.
"Obviously it affects the makeup of our club next year," Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso said, "but it also affects these young men's lives."
While Trapasso tracks where current Rainbows and several incoming recruits go in the draft, recent Mililani graduate Dustin Antolin will be among the local players closely following the proceedings.
Antolin, a right-handed pitcher with a fastball in the 90s, is regarded among the top prospects in the high school ranks this season. UH pitcher Matt Daly and outfielder Brandon Haislet are also among those expected to receive a call.
The first of the draft's 50 rounds will be televised on ESPN2 tomorrow at 8 a.m. Tampa Bay has the first pick. Fans can follow the draft's progress on MLB.com.
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For now, Dustin Antolin is enjoying life as a recent high school graduate, his days filled primarily with trips to the beach and hanging out with friends.
Tomorrow, though, he's planning to stay indoors, camped out in front of the computer tracking Major League Baseball's First-Year Player Draft.
Antolin, who picked up his diploma at Mililani's graduation ceremony last Sunday, is regarded as one of the top prospects in this year's crop of local draft hopefuls and will be paying close attention to the proceedings in Florida.
Though admittedly a bit anxious to see what the draft might have in store, the 6-foot-1 right-handed pitcher with a fastball clocked in the 90s isn't exactly obsessing over the what-ifs.
"I'm just chillin'," he said yesterday. "Just got to wait and see I guess.
"We're going to wake up and watch it on the Internet and if it happens, great. ... I'm not too worried because if I don't get drafted I always have college to go to."
The two-day, 50-round draft begins at 8 a.m. Hawaii time at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida and runs through about 3 p.m. The remaining rounds will be held Friday.
Where Antolin might be selected remains unclear. But simply having his name called would be historic, as he would be the first Mililani High School product to be drafted.
Antolin, who has signed with Central Arizona College, was throwing in the upper 80s to low 90s for the Trojans. Former Mililani coach Dean Sato believes those numbers will jump with more specialized instruction.
Antolin relied primarily on his fastball, curve and split-finger fastball during the high school season and has been refining his change-up while playing American Legion ball for Waipahu, concentrating more on location than turning his fastball loose in the summer league.
"Mostly trying to spot my pitches, inside, outside, hit the black, getting my release point down," Antolin said.
Antolin, an Atlanta Braves fan growing up, opened some eyes when his fastball hit 94 mph in a tournament in Arizona last year, attracting a stream of radar-gun toting scouts to Mililani's games this season.
"It's kind of cool, but you're still a little nervous a little bit because you want to impress them," said Antolin, who also played center field for the Trojans and hit .444. "But once the game starts going, I don't really think about anything. I just think about doing a good job and doing what's best for the team and staying focused. I don't pay attention to anything outside the diamond."
Along with Antolin, Aiea pitcher Randy Castillo and Punahou catcher Zachary Kometani have been mentioned as draft possibilities among local high school players.
The next two days will also have University of Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso wearing out the "refresh" button on the MLB Web site.
While hoping the best for the Rainbows seniors and draft-eligible juniors, Trapasso will be keeping tabs on several recruits who might be selected.
Trapasso expects junior right-hander Matt Daly's mid-90s fastball to earn him a draft call. Though like Antolin, trying to predict where Daly might end up is "a crap shoot," Trapasso said.
"You never know what can happen from a week before the draft up to the draft," Trapasso said.
Senior outfielder Brandon Haislet is also expected to be picked after leading the Rainbows in hitting (.389), home runs (seven), RBIs (50) and stolen bases (11). Junior catcher Landon Hernandez may face a decision if his name pops up on the draft board.
"It all depends on the round and the team, and he's mature enough to make that decision for himself," Trapasso said.
Trapasso said he's also been fielding inquiries on senior pitcher Josh Schneider and hopes senior infielder Jon Hee gets a shot.
He'll also keep a close eye on several incoming recruits, including pitcher Lenny Linsky of Peninsula High (Calif.) and catcher Nick Croce of Mission Bay High (San Diego).
"You go through it every year and this year in particular we really like the class that we're bringing in," he said.
Kamehameha-Hawaii catcher Kolten Wong, the Star-Bulletin's Co-Position Player of the Year, also signed with UH and could be drafted as well as outfielder Christian Johnson (Iolani '06), who hit .385 at Central Arizona this season.
Hawaii Pacific pitcher Kaimi Mead could rate a call after going 7-1 with a 2.25 ERA for the Sea Warriors this season. The Roosevelt graduate threw a no-hitter this season and was named the Pacific West Conference Player and Pitcher of the Year. LHP Derrick Saito (Baldwin '06), a junior at Cal Poly, is also regarded as a draft prospect.