It had been more than three weeks since Seminole’s Brett Phillips had seen live pitching. So this past weekend’s Florida Athletic Coaches Association all-star game in Sebring was eye-opening.
Phillips faced four pitchers projected to be drafted in the top two rounds of next week’s Major League Baseball first-year player draft: Oviedo Hagerty’s Zach Eflin, Orlando Olympia’s Walker Weickel, Winter Haven All Saints’ Carson Fulmer and Winter Haven’s Tyler Pike.
“I had my hands full,’’ Phillips said. “Not to make an excuse, but I hadn’t seen live pitching in about a month. I only had one shot at them so it was like, go up there and try to hit. I got one hit in five at-bats.’’
One game will not hurt Phillips’ draft status. He still expects to be selected in the first four rounds. If that doesn’t happen, he has a scholarship offer from N.C. State.
Aside from last weekend and Thursday’s senior all-star game at Tropicana Field, Phillips has also been busy working out for pro teams. He has had workouts for the Mariners, Cubs, Padres, Pirates, Blue Jays and Rays. And he’s set to work out with the Rays again Thursday morning.
“I just can’t wait for the draft, to get everything settled and know where I’m going,’’ Phillips said.
More locals: East Lake right-hander Eric Hanhold turned in an impressive performance in Sebring. Hanhold, who has an offer from the University of Florida, started for the North team and gave up no hits or walks in two innings. His fastball continues to hover in the low 90s, which makes him attractive to scouts. Hanhold will certainly get drafted, likely between the eighth and 12th rounds.
Another local pitcher in the draft mix is Dunedin right-hander Colyn O’Connell. The Falcons ace, who can reach 90 with his fastball, also was selected to play in the FACA all-star game and in Thursday’s game at Tropicana Field. O’Connell has a college offer from Polk State College.
Eckerd College: Three Tritons seniors are draft prospects, according to coach Bill Mathews. Leading the list is RHP Joey Cuda, who was 6-4 this season with a 2.92 ERA and 114 strikeouts, second most in school history. He walked only 14 in 86 innings.
Cuda was named to the all-Sunshine State Conference second team, all-South Region second team and the American Baseball Coaches Association all-South Region second team. He was also the lone pitcher chosen to the all-Gold Glove team. Cuda, a Canterbury grad, is in the running for the Tino Martinez Player of the Year award, given to the best player in Division II.
Senior third baseman/catcher David Regidor, a Jefferson High grad, is another draft possibility. He hit .293 with 11 doubles and 20 RBIs. Rounding out the list for the Tritons is Alex Del Monte, who led Eckerd with a .352 average and 10 doubles. Del Monte is a Palm Harbor University graduate and also attended Pasco-Hernando Community College.
St. Petersburg College: Right-handed pitcher Corbin Hoffner is the likeliest St. Petersburg College player to end up on the draft board. Hoffner pitched 71 1/3 innings this season and had a 2.52 ERA. He was 5-5 in 14 games pitched for the Titans.
SPC coach Ryan Beckman said another pitcher to keep an eye on is LHP Austen Thrailkill, who pitched in parts of 21 games and recorded 35 strikeouts in 32 2/3 innings.
Rodney Page can be reached at email@example.com.