Sunday, May 27, 2018
Sports

MLB draft notebook: All-star game nets Pinellas trio extra attention

Pinellas County sent three players to the Florida Athletic Coaches Association all-star game in Sebring on May 24-25. The two-day event attracts major-league scouts from just about every team.

Clearwater Central Catholic third baseman Brenden Overton, East Lake pitcher Brad Deppermann and Osceola pitcher Keith Weisenberg each had a chance to play. Weisenberg has drawn scouts all season and was no surprise. Deppermann and Overton each jumped onto scouts' radar screens with good high school seasons and the FACA invite.

Deppermann was 6-2 with two saves, 100 strikeouts in 75 innings pitched and a 0.93 ERA for East Lake, which made the Class 7A state final. He already has an offer to play at North Florida.

"It could happen," Deppermann said of going in the MLB first-year player draft, which starts Thursday. "I thought it could be possible when the season started."

Overton, who led the county with seven home runs, said playing in Sebring was highly beneficial.

"It was an awesome experience," he said. "The talent level was so good. The biggest difference was the pitching. Everyone there threw 90-plus. I felt I did pretty good."

Overton said he spoke to a few scouts after the Sebring games and also went to Miami afterwards to work out for the Marlins. He has a scholarship to play at Saint Leo.

"I'm not expecting anything" Overton said of the draft. "For me, it's a win-win."

St. Petersburg's Rivera one to watch

St. Petersburg infielder/outfielder Richie Rivera didn't have an eye-popping season (.349, 12 RBIs, five doubles), but don't be surprised if he goes in the top 20 rounds. St. Petersburg coach Travis Phelps said the Cubs have worked out Rivera several times and liked what they saw.

"Richie is super fast and super strong," Phelps said. "He didn't have the greatest high school season, but he killed it in his workouts with the Cubs. They had him bat left-handed, which he has never done before, and he was ripping the ball. He's such a good athlete. He could end up being a very versatile player, kind of like a (Ben) Zobrist on the Rays.

"If you asked me this a month ago I wouldn't have said it, but right now I think he can go in the 10 to 12th rounds."

Rivera is committed to the State College of Florida in Bradenton.

Small colleges

Eckerd pitcher Jimmy Gutowski is a local small-college player who could see his name on the draft board this weekend. Gutowski, a junior transfer from Monroe Community College in Rochester, N.Y., was 11-2 with a 2.76 ERA. His 11 wins led the Sunshine State Conference and he was named to the al-SSC first team. Gutowski was the runnerup in pitcher of the year voting.

"He had a phenomenal year,'' said Bill Mathews, who stepped down as Eckerd's coach at the season's end. "We kind of used him backwards. He was our Game 3 starter on Saturdays."

Gutowski was an honorable mention on the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association All-America Team. Gutowski is scheduled to pitch in the Cape Cod League this summer.

Mathews said other draft possibilities include senior outfielder Lincoln Dunham (.317, nine doubles, 18 RBIs) and junior catcher Mike Abraham (.347, 31 RBIs). Dunham previously went to East Lake High and St. Petersburg College.

Speaking of St. Petersburg College, former Seminole first baseman Corey Baptist had a big year for the Titans. Baptist hit .397 with nine home runs and 41 RBIs, all team highs. He said he has talked to some scouts but doesn't know what to expect during the draft.

"I definitely have better vibes this year than last year,'' Baptist said. "I think I have a good shot (at being drafted) but you never know. I think I did my part this season but there is no guarantee. I'll be at home waiting for the phone to ring.''

Baptist said he will return to St. Petersburg College for a second season if he's not drafted.

Comments
LeBron James, Cavs beat Celtics, advance to NBA Finals

LeBron James, Cavs beat Celtics, advance to NBA Finals

Times wiresBOSTON – LeBron James scored 35 points and played all 48 minutes Sunday night  to lead the Cavaliers to an 87-79 victory over the Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final to advance to the NBA Finals.James added 15 rebo...
Updated: 24 minutes ago
Rays journal: Reliever Austin Pruitt pitches nearly six scoreless innings for second career save

Rays journal: Reliever Austin Pruitt pitches nearly six scoreless innings for second career save

ST. PETERSBURG — Rays RHP Austin Pruitt has started and worked out of the bullpen, in both short and long relief.But he did not expect to pick up his second career save Sunday by having to log 5⅔ innings, allowing only three hits whi...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rick Stroud’s takeaways from Sunday’s Rays-Orioles game

Rick Stroud’s takeaways from Sunday’s Rays-Orioles game

So the team that just got back from a 10-day, 11-game road trip in three time zones is headed back out west for Memorial Day? The Rays travel to Oakland, Calif., Seattle and Washington, D.C. It's the first time they visited the West Coast on back-to-...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Martin Fennelly: A column to match Rays’ upside-down pitching

Martin Fennelly: A column to match Rays’ upside-down pitching

  In the spirit of the Rays' topsy-turvy pitching alignments, last goes first in this column. Go to the end to start reading. "The buy-in that we get, the buy-in to each other, and the team effort has been really fun to be part of to this point," C...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Rays bats come alive with six-run rally to beat Orioles 8-3

Rays bats come alive with six-run rally to beat Orioles 8-3

ST. PETERSBURG — If you think the Rays are holding their pitching staff together with baling wire, duct tape and an overbooked shuttle to Triple-A Durham, a bigger story might be how their bats keep producing runs no matter who is swinging them...
Updated: 4 hours ago
For starters: Rays RHP Sergio Romo opens the game for the second time in 48 hours vs. Orioles

For starters: Rays RHP Sergio Romo opens the game for the second time in 48 hours vs. Orioles

ST. PETERSBURG – Speaking of openers, the Rays will start RHP Sergio Romo (1-1, 4.66 ERA) for the fourth time this season, the second time in 48 hours vs. the Orioles. The 35-year-old Romo did not make it out of the first inning Friday, allowin...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Rays journal: After Alex Colome trade, Rays’ closer situation is fluid, Kevin Cash says

Rays journal: After Alex Colome trade, Rays’ closer situation is fluid, Kevin Cash says

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays have had to get creative in how they start games. Now, after Friday's trade of closer Alex Colome, they might have to get creative in how they finish them.How they handle the ninth inning going forward will be a fluid ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Vegas envy: Is Tampa Bay ready for a Vegas’ birth-to-best story?

Vegas envy: Is Tampa Bay ready for a Vegas’ birth-to-best story?

What in the name of the 0-26 Bucs is going on here?The breathtaking Vegas Golden Knights are the greatest expansion team in professional sports history. They are the best (or worst) thing to ever happen to our games, having won 51 times during the re...
Published: 05/26/18
Updated: 05/27/18
Rays pitchers Ryne Stanek, Anthony Banda dominate in 5-1 win over Orioles

Rays pitchers Ryne Stanek, Anthony Banda dominate in 5-1 win over Orioles

THE BASEBALL LABORATORY IN ST. PETERSBURG — Up is down. Down is up. Hello is goodbye. Goodbye is hello. A reliever is a starter. A starter is a reliever.These are your 2018 Tampa Bay Rays.You never know what's going to happen. And just when you...
Published: 05/26/18
Updated: 05/27/18
Former Bucs QB Josh Freeman says he’s retiring from football

Former Bucs QB Josh Freeman says he’s retiring from football

Former Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman, who was trying to resurrect his career with the CFL's Montreal Alouettes, said Saturday that he is retiring from football.Freeman, 30, was a first-round draft pick of the Bucs in 2009 and was their starting ...
Published: 05/26/18