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At most games this season, scouts sat behind home plate and pointed their radar guns in Joey Krehbiel’s direction. Some pitches arrived at the catcher’s mitt at 91, 92 and 93 mph.
As a Seminole third baseman and shortstop, Krehbiel made spectacular plays on sure base hits, popping up from who knows where to backhand the ball and whip it to first.
Then there’s his performance at the plate, where he can hit balls far and long, such as the two shots that sailed more than 400 feet during the Pinellas-Hillsborough all-star game last week at Tropicana Field.
Because of his multiple skills, Krehbiel has gotten the attention of teams heading into next week’s Major League Baseball first-year player draft.
The biggest question is where he will play. Some teams like him as a pitcher. Others prefer he play third base. And there are some who project him as a catcher, though he has not played much at that position.
“Teams like me at a lot of different spots,” Krehbiel said. “I hear all kinds of things about where I’ll play if I get drafted.”
Krehbiel could be selected in the top 20 rounds, though he said he has heard he might be picked anywhere from the second to eighth round. If that were to happen, the prospects of him playing for South Florida, which he committed to last summer, appear slim.
“I would have to see what kind of money was offered to me and if it’s right for my family,” Krehbiel said. “But I would most likely sign.”
Two weeks ago, Krehbiel worked out for the Blue Jays at the Englebert Complex in Dunedin along with other prospects. He said the Blue Jays have showed the most interest and want him to become a catcher.
“I’ve had some other teams talk to me, too,” Krehbiel said. “It’s been like that for the past few weeks.”
Krehbiel also has signed with Chipola Junior College as a backup plan if he doesn’t go as high as he expects.
Two Dunedin stars who signed with in-state schools, Mike Clarkson (USF) and Casey Turgeon (Florida), are expected to be drafted as well. Clarkson, a pitcher, could be selected in the later rounds. Turgeon, a shortstop, could go as high as the top 20. Former Clearwater Central Catholic standout Sam Mende (USF) and former Dunedin star Jake Rogers (Mount Olive) also could be selected.