Wednesday, June 6, 2001
[ MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL ]
3 with HawaiiAction in Major League Baseball's first-year-player draft yesterday was limited for college players with Hawaii ties. Only three -- all from mainland schools -- were selected.
ties drafted out
Rundgren and Kuhaulua
plan to sign, while Komine
will wait and see
2 preps get calls, more expected
By Al Chase
Drafted yesterday were Rex Rundgren (Sacramento City), Kaulana Kuhaulua (Long Beach State) and Shane Komine (Nebraska).
Rundgren was picked in the 11th round by the Florida Marlins. The 6-foot-1 shortstop was the 332nd pick overall. He hit .391 for Sacramento City this year, and said it was a benefit not to be drafted a year ago after being selected by the Boston Red Sox in 1999 out of Mid-Pacific Institute.
"I am glad I wasn't picked last year, because I got to go to Sac City and learn a lot," Rundgren said. "Right now I'm excited. The Marlins called right after they picked me. We haven't talked money yet, but I'm most likely going to sign."
Minutes later, Kuhaulua was selected in the 12th round, 347th overall, by the Minnesota Twins. The Waianae High School graduate played second base for NCAA tournament participant Long Beach State this past spring after two seasons at Los Angeles City College.
Drafted the last two years in the 39th and 17th rounds, Kuhaulua did not complain about being a 12th-round selection this year "after the year I had."
Shifted from shortstop -- where All-American Bobby Crosby was established -- to second base, Kuhaulua hit .232 but started all 58 games for the 49ers.
"It was a learning experience for me,'' said Kuhaulua. "Moving over to second will benefit me more. For the first year ever playing at second, I thought I did pretty good.''
As for his batting average, Kuhaulua found Division I pitchers were smarter in their approach.
"Even when you have a hitters count, they still throw a curve or change-up. In junior college, they just try to throw a fastball by you down the middle," said Kuhaulua, who will meet with a Twins scout later this week.
"Most likely, I'm going to sign. I want to go out this year. I feel I'm ready," he said.
Shane Komine, the ace of the College World Series-bound Nebraska Cornhuskers pitching staff, wasn't surprised at being selected in the 19th round by the St. Louis Cardinals. He was the 584th choice overall.
"I talked to some teams earlier (in the draft) and kind of turned them down because earlier today my mind was set on going back to school," the Kalani High School graduate said.
"When the St. Louis Cardinals called and said they were willing to negotiate about the money and not to be disappointed about the round, I said I would be interested. It's just something that I'm going to have to wait and see what happens."
Komine and the Cardinals can't negotiate until after Nebraska's season is finished. Komine hopes that's after the Cornhuskers win the CWS in their first-ever visit to Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Neb.
The first 20 rounds of the draft were completed yesterday. The draft continues today with 30 rounds left for a number of local college players waiting for the telephone call from a major league team.
A number of recent high school graduates are still hoping to get a call today when Major League Baseball's first-year player draft resumes.
2 preps get calls,
By Jason Kaneshiro
Kamehameha shortstop Bronson Sardinha and St. Louis pitcher Brandon League were the only Hawaii high school players selected in the first 20 rounds of the draft yesterday.
Sardinha was taken by the New York Yankees with the 34th overall pick. League went to the Toronto Blue Jays with the 59th selection.
The second phase of the draft will start at 6 a.m. (Hawaii time) with rounds 21-50. If all 30 rounds cannot be completed by noon today, the draft will conclude tomorrow.
Former Campbell pitcher Chad Bailey will be one of the local stars waiting by the phone today. Bailey's father, Ronald, said the 6-foot-5 lefty was disappointed by not getting called yesterday, but still hopes to get an opportunity to play professional baseball.
"It's been his dream to make it to the big leagues," Ronald Bailey said. "He just wants to get called and get that recognition."
A likely scenario for Bailey and other available high school prospects is a draft-and-follow. Major league teams can retain the rights to a draftee for one year, allowing the player to compete at the college level. If the player does not sign with the team by the week before next year's draft, he becomes eligible to reenter the draft.
Others who may get a call today include Molokai infielder Keli'i Alcon, Kamehameha outfielder Keli'i Correa, St. Louis infielder Milton Grado, Kamehameha pitcher Hubert Pruett and Kauai pitcher Mark Rodrigues.