King centerfielder Javaris Reynolds missed his high school graduation last week for the chance to work out for the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.
It’s a trip he won’t regret.
The Astros selected the Lions senior Tuesday in the seventh round of the MLB first-year player draft with the 220th overall pick.
“It made it all worth it,” Reynolds said. “When I left that workout, I had a great feeling about it. All the guys there were really friendly and liked me. I had a feeling it might work out.”
He is the Tampa Bay area’s second-highest high school pick after Alonso’s Jose Fernandez, who was picked 14th overall by the Marlins on Monday.
Reynolds’ stock rose after a terrific senior season in which the 6-foot, 190-pound rangy outfielder hit .403 with 34 runs and 27 stolen bases from the Lions’ leadoff spot.
King coach Jim Macaluso said a pair of scouts started showing up around King this January, but there were about eight or nine organizations showing interest in Reynolds heading into the draft day.
“He was just a kid that kept getting better and better over his four years here,” Macaluso said. “He worked hard and he’s the perfect example of what you do at this level. He got a little better every year and then exploded his senior year. I thought he was going to get there, but it was going to take a while.”
Macaluso said he expected Reynolds to be picked anywhere from the seventh to 10th round.
“I still never thought I would get drafted in the seventh round,” Reynolds said. “I was still really surprised. My hopes started to go down seeing all these names go by. Then I heard my name and we went crazy. My family had a big group hug.”
Reynolds has signed to play at State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota. He will meet with the Astros Wednesday to start discussing terms, but left little doubt he's going to turn pro.
“I’m ready to play pro ball,” Reynolds said.
The Astros have until Aug. 15 to sign him.
-- EDUARDO A. ENCINA (firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @EddieHometeam)