Last year, Ryan Weber had the distinction of being the highest draft pick among Pinellas County high school players when the Clearwater Central Catholic star was taken in the 12th round by the Philadelphia Phillies.
Though he did not sign and opted to play for St. Petersburg College, Weber still was the highest pick of county high school players, past or present, in the first two days of this week's Major League Baseball amateur draft.
This time, Weber was selected lower, going in the 22nd round to the Atlanta Braves.
"The Braves had been in contact and said they would take me between the sixth and 10th round for slot money," Weber said.
Slot money is the amount recommended by MLB for draft picks based on where they were selected. Weber said his agent advised him not to take the slot money.
"That's why I went lower," Weber said.
Still, Weber has not ruled out signing. He said the Braves want to see him pitch this summer before making a decision.
"I'd really like to get out there and play (in the Braves organization)," Weber said.
Weber was named FCCAA Suncoast first-team all-conference after going 8-4 with a 3.91 ERA as a freshman this past season with SPC. In 2008, Weber was 9-0 with a 1.41 ERA for CCC and was named to the Times' all-Pinellas first team.
Twins take Jesuit SS: Jesuit shortstop Nick Lockwood committed to USF in his junior season. Now he has an interesting decision to make after the Minnesota Twins drafted him in the ninth round.
Lockwood was taken with the 282nd overall pick, the highest bay area selection Wednesday.
"It's cool getting drafted," he said. "But college has always been something that's been my main goal. Right now, I'm not leaning either way."
Lockwood hit .380 with five homers and 26 RBIs for the Tigers, who spent several weeks ranked as the No. 1 team in the country. He injured his ankle in the regular-season finale, missing three district tournament games.
He had participated in a workout with the Twins leading up to the draft. One factor that might come into play: Lockwood's brother, former Jesuit standout Ryan Lockwood, is a draft-eligible underclassman at USF.
Schuster's stock falls: Mitchell left-hander Patrick Schuster, a Florida commit, was the Arizona Diamondbacks' 13th-round pick (396th overall). Baseball America recently ranked him the nation's No. 164 overall draft prospect (college and prep).
"I expected to go a little higher," said Schuster, reached by phone at New Port Richey's Magnolia Valley Golf Club. "I don't know really (why he fell to the 13th round). I haven't talked to anybody yet. They haven't told me."
He shot to national fame when he tossed a state-record four consecutive no-hitters in April, but was on college and pro scouts' proverbial radar long before. A breakout junior season, highlighted by a 20-strikeout effort at Gulf, was followed by a series of solid performances at national "showcase" events over the summer.
Schuster finished his senior year 8-1 with a 0.93 ERA, striking out 115 and walking only 29 in 60 innings. A recent scouting report from Baseball America said "his slight frame (6-foot-2, 170 pounds) lends little future projection, and scouts agreed he might even lose some deception as he fills out physically."
When asked Wednesday if the money he could be offered as a 13th-round pick will be enough to sway him from UF, Schuster said, "Probably not."
former jesuit hurler an a's pick: Former Jesuit pitcher Sam Dyson, who has been playing collegiately at South Carolina, was selected by the Oakland Athletics in the 10th round (303rd). Dyson, who was drafted out of Jesuit in the 19th round in 2006 by the Nationals, was 9-4 with a 5.21 ERA with the Gamecocks this past spring. The right-hander held opponents to a .237 batting average.
Scouts love his 97 mph fastball and he had 89 strikeouts and walked just 33 in 95 innings this season as a redshirt sophomore. He has added an 82 mph curve. Dyson overcame right labrum surgery that kept him out as a freshman at South Carolina to become the Gamecocks' ace.
Texas takes Cooper: University of Florida outfielder Riley Cooper was taken in the 25th round by the Texas Rangers with pick No. 754. Cooper played in 30 games and started 25 for the Gators baseball team this season, batting .247 with two home runs and eight RBIs. A 6-foot-3, 215-pounder, Cooper graduated from Clearwater Central Catholic in 2006 and was selected in the '06 MLB Draft in the 15th round by the Philadelphia Phillies.
Staff writers Eduardo A. Encina, Joey Knight and Bryan Burns contributed to this report.