06/25/2009 12:12 PM ET
MLB Urban Youth Academy has 21 players selected in 2009 First-Year Player Draft
COMPTON, Calif. -- A total of 21 athletes who either played or trained at the Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy were selected in the MLB First-Year Player Draft, it was announced. In the four years that the academy has been in operation, it has been successful in developing top-level talent and has had 28 of its players sign with Major League organizations.
"As a result of their hard work and the support of their families, their scholastic coaches and the instructors at Major League Baseball's Urban Youth Academy, these outstanding young players have the opportunity to realize a dream," said Darrell Miller, Senior Director of the MLB Urban Youth Academy. "The draft results affirm that we are meeting the challenge in the area of player development. The lives of all the young people who participate in its programs are being impacted by the academy, including these young men who have the opportunity to go on to play with Major League organizations."
A series of camps, instructional leagues, clinics, tournaments and special events are conducted at the academy throughout the year, enabling the young players to showcase their talent for Major League scouts. This year's events hosted at the academy include the Urban Invitational Baseball Tournament, which showcases baseball talent from historically black colleges and universities; the Breakthrough Series, a national showcase of some of the countries top minority players; and the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) Regionals presented by KPMG, an initiative dedicated to enhancing youth participation and interest in baseball and softball.
The following players selected in the draft have participated in events at the academy:
- Nicholas Akins (19th round, 577th overall, Los Angeles Dodgers) - a left fielder from Vanguard University. He played at Riverside Community College in 2008. This was his third time being drafted. He is a member of the Academy Barons in the summer California Collegiate League.
"This is my third time being drafted, so I am signing for sure," Akins said. "It's kind of crazy that I am about to go out and chase my dream."
- Marc Baca (42nd round, 1255th overall, Pittsburgh Pirates) - a right-handed pitcher from UNLV. He played with the Academy Barons in the summer California Collegiate League in 2008. He served as the Rebels closer in 2009, saving three games and posting a 3-1 record.
- Blake Crosby (42nd round, 1263rd overall, Oakland Athletics) - a first baseman at Cal State Sacramento. He currently serves as a summer baseball instructor for the MLB Urban Youth Academy. He hit .397 with four home runs and 47 RBI in 2009. His brother is A's infielder Bobby Crosby.
- Khristopher Davis (7th round, 226th overall, Milwaukee Brewers) - a right fielder from Cal State Fullerton. He is a member of the Academy Barons in the summer California Collegiate League. He leads the Titans in doubles (24), home runs (16), and RBI (57) while batting .336.
- Shuhei Fujiya (18th round, 534th overall, San Diego Padres) - a right-handed pitcher from the University of Northern Iowa. He is a member of the Academy Barons in the summer California Collegiate League. He tied the University of Northern Iowa's career saves record (10) and earned Honorable Mention on the All-Missouri Valley Conference Team.
- Mario Gallardo (47th round, 1416th overall, Arizona Diamondbacks) - a left-handed pitcher from West Los Angeles College. He is a member of the Academy Barons in the summer California Collegiate League.
- Virgil Hill (6th round, 189th overall, St. Louis Cardinals) - a center fielder from Los Angeles Mission College. He is a member of the Academy Barons in the summer California Collegiate League. He batted .462 with 10 home runs, 48 RBI and 27 stolen bases in 2009. His father, Virgil Hill, Sr., won a silver medal boxing in the 1984 Olympics.
- Chris Jacobs (37th round, 1116th overall, Arizona Diamondbacks) - an outfielder at Westchester High School, he led his team to the Los Angeles City Section Division II Championship, hitting .500 with 9 home runs and 27 RBI.
- Trayvone Johnson (30th round, 912th overall, Minnesota Twins) - a catcher. He is a member of the Academy Barons in the summer California Collegiate League.
"I thought about my auntie who passed away in 2007," Johnson said. "I kind of stopped playing once she passed away, so when I came back and I got the phone call I knew immediately that this is what she would've wanted me to do. So I was just ready to do what I have to do to move to the next level, which is the big show."
- Paul Michael Klingsberg (49th round, 1482nd overall, Minnesota Twins) - a first baseman from Cal State Dominguez Hills. He participated in a workout for major league scouts at the academy. He hit .355 with 44 RBI and 21 doubles and holds the record for most doubles in a single game (3).
- David Peters (16th round, 488th overall, Florida Marlins) - a catcher from Lakewood High School. He was a member of the academy scout team and competed in the Tournament of Stars at the academy. He hit .389 with 11 doubles and 39 RBI.
- Ronnie Richardson (11th round, 342nd overall, Minnesota Twins) - a center fielder from Lake Region High School in Florida. He participated on the academy's Japan team, in the Breakthrough Series and in the Tournament of Stars. He stole 31 bases in 2009.
- Jonathan Singleton (8th round, 257th overall, Philadelphia Phillies) - a first baseman from Long Beach Millikan High School. He was a member of the academy scout team. He hit .321 with 25 RBI and four home runs in 2009.
- Tyler Skaggs (Compensation Round A, 40th overall, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) - a left-handed pitcher from Santa Monica High School. He competed in the Tournament of Stars at the academy. Considered one of the top left-handed pitchers in the draft, he threw 48 innings, posting a 1.60 ERA and 76 strikeouts.
- Mykal Stokes (46th round, 1374th overall, San Diego Padres) - a center fielder from Orange Coast College. He was a member of the academy scout team. As a freshman, he helped Orange Coast to a state title, batting .332 with 62 hits, 30 RBI and 43 runs.
- Darnell Sweeney (41st round, 1238th overall, Florida Marlins) - a shortstop from American Senior High School in Florida. He participated on the academy's Japan team and in the Breakthrough Series. He was named to the Class 6A All-State team in 2009, hitting .358 with 25 stolen bases.
- Josef Terry (17th round, 503rd overall, Seattle Mariners) - a second baseman from Cerritos College. He was a member of the academy scout team and the Academy Barons in the summer California Collegiate League. He was named the South Coast Conference Player of the Year and led Cerritos in batting average (.426), hits (72), runs (50), and RBI (57).
- "I was shocked and overwhelmed," Terry said. "It's my first time being drafted. Baseball has always been my escape. If I had a problem, I would just go out and play baseball. It has just always been my way to rescue me, so it just made my dream come true."
- Ivory Thomas (42nd round, 1271st overall, Houston Astros) - a center fielder from Downey High School. He was a member of the academy scout team and Japan team. A first team All-CIF player and known for his speed, he stole 24 bases while batting .391 with 17 RBI.
- Trayce Thompson (2nd round, 61st overall, Chicago White Sox) - a center fielder from Santa Margarita High School. He is the son of former NBA - including the Lakers -- standout Mychal Thompson. He hit .339 with seven home runs and 18 RBI.
- Nick Wagner (44th round, 1330th overall, Toronto Blue Jays) - an outfielder from Santa Margarita High School. He played on the academy's scout team for two years and appeared before major league scouts in the 2008 showcase event. He hit .380 with 14 RBI and 11 doubles in 2009.
- Kyle Witten (41st round, 1223rd overall, Seattle Mariners) - a right-handed pitcher from Cal State Fullerton. He is in his second season with the Academy Barons in the summer California Collegiate League.
- Drafted players seen through showcase events at the academy for the MLB Scouting Bureau include:
- Nolan Arenado (2nd round, 59th overall, Colorado Rockies) - a shortstop from El Toro High School. He hit .529 with three home runs, 14 doubles and 19 RBI in 2009, leading El Toro to the championship game of the Anderson Bat National Classic.
- Arthur Charles (39th round, 1172nd overall, Kansas City Royals) - a first baseman from Bakersfield College. Only a freshman, he hit .244 and was second on the team in RBI (27), while showcasing his defensive skills at first base with a .978 fielding percentage.
- Matthew Hobgood (1st round, 5th overall, Baltimore Orioles) - a 6-4, 245-pound pitcher for Norco High School. He was named the Gatorade Player of the Year in 2009, posting an 11-1 record, 0.92 ERA, 101 strikeouts and 26 walks in 68.1 innings. He hit .475 and blasted 21 home runs.
- Kristopher Hobson (6th round, 190th overall, Toronto Blue Jays) - a first baseman/outfielder from Stockdale High School. The son of former Red Sox third baseman Butch Hobson, he hit .488 and posted 13 home runs and 47 RBI.
- Jarret Martin (18th round, 536th overall, Baltimore Orioles) - a left-handed pitcher from Bakersfield College. While pitching in only five games due to injury, he struck out 24 batters in 15.2 innings and posted a 1.72 ERA.
- Jiovanni Mier (1st round, 21st overall, Houston Astros) - a shortstop from Bonita High School who reminds many of Nomar Garciaparra. He impressed scouts with his defense at the academy showcase and has some pop in his bat, hitting .394 with five home runs and 10 doubles.
- David Nick (4th round, 126th overall, Arizona Diamondbacks) - a shortstop from Cypress High School. He was named First Team All-County and hit .388 with eight home runs and 26 RBI.
- Brooks Pounders (2nd round, 53rd overall, Pittsburgh Pirates) - a right-handed pitcher from Temecula Valley High School. He posted a 7-3 record with a 1.82 ERA and hit .333 with 10 home runs and 39 RBI in 2009.