Friday, November 16, 2018
Sports

Orioles select River Ridge star

River Ridge outfielder Jason Heinrich said he expected to be drafted between the third and sixth rounds, so his fifth-round selection by the Orioles on Tuesday was not a surprise.

"It was a relief to see my name," said Heinrich, who was taken 163rd overall.

Prior to the Major League Baseball first-year player draft, he discussed with his family what he would do if he were to go high. He decided he will bypass a scholarship to UCF, sign with the Orioles soon and report to the Gulf Coast League in Sarasota.

"There will be something in the contract that will allow me to continue my education," Heinrich said. "I'm going to give this my best shot."

Heinrich is an all-around player who concentrated on the outfield during his senior season for the Royal Knights. He hit .437 with 22 RBIs, seven doubles, four triples and three home runs. He pitched much more his junior year but was limited to 15 innings this season.

Heinrich is being drafted for his outfield play and power. He is ranked 179th on mlb.com's top 200 prospect list. The site said Heinrich is a "big risk, big reward kind of high school bat, one with a ton of raw power."

As the 163rd pick, Heinrich is slotted to earn a signing bonus of $310,500.

Making the connection

When the call came he had been waiting for most of his life, Richie Martin missed it.

The University of Florida junior shortstop was getting so many calls Monday night that when management from the Oakland A's tried to contact him to let him know he was going to be the 20th overall selection, Martin didn't get the call.

"My phone was going crazy. Billy Beane actually called my agent and he was talking to him," said Martin, a Bloomingdale High alum who was at home in Brandon with his parents and a few close friends and family for Day 1 of the draft. "… I actually missed the call and had to call him back. So he left a voicemail, and it was pretty cool getting a voicemail from him."

Martin was projected to go no earlier than 29th by many draft experts. Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan said he couldn't be happier for Martin.

"I was pumped," he said. "I called him right after that. Very excited for him; I think the A's made a great pick. I think his best days are ahead of him. He's still only 20 years old. He's as good a defensive shortstop as I've ever coached. I think … once he grows into his body a little bit more, gets a little bit more mature with his body, I think he has a chance to play for a long, long time."

Martin said he's happy to put the draft behind him so he can focus on the Gators' quest for a national championship in the College World Series, which begins Saturday.

"(Being drafted) was an awesome feeling," he said. "I'm still kind of lost for words. It's a long process, but at the end it all pays off and that feels great."

More notable locals

RHP Jimmy Herget, Jefferson/USF (6th, 175th, Reds): As the Bulls' ace, the 6-foot-3, 165-pound junior finished 10-3 with a 2.92 ERA while striking out 113 in 101⅔ innings. He had big games against Seton Hall (12 strikeouts, two hits in eight innings) and FAU (first NCAA tournament win) and became the 13th USF pitcher to have a 10-win season. In his time at Jefferson under longtime coach Pop Cuesta, Herget posted two straight sub-2.00 ERA seasons, going 6-0 in 2011 as the Dragons finished 22-5.

In a text message, Herget said he hasn't made a concrete decision but "odds are" he has pitched his last game for the Bulls.

The predetermined slot value for the 175th overall pick is $276,600, according to Baseball America.

"It's a great honor to get the opportunity to continue my career," Herget said.

Equipped with a fastball in the low 90s, knee-buckling slider and stream of breaking pitches thrown at a variety of arm angles, Herget was deemed the draft's No. 105-ranked prospect by mlb.com and No. 230 by Baseball America.

RHP Chase Ingram, Wesley Chapel/Hillsborough CC (6th, 179th, Mets): In 15 appearances, the 6-foot-4, 205-pound sophomore was 11-1 with a 1.88 ERA and 120 strikeouts. His senior year at Wesley Chapel, Ingram finished with a 1.05 ERA and a county-best 116 strikeouts. MLB.com says: "While Ingram has often pitched out of the stretch, he has the stuff and command to continue profiling as a starter, albeit one in the back end of a rotation."

RHP Eric Hanhold, East Lake/Florida (6th, 181st, Brewers): Hanhold was 7-3 with a 1.14 ERA in his senior season at East Lake. This season at UF, he has pitched 25 innings with a 4.26 ERA. Hanhold had the distinction of being the last player drafted in the 2012 MLB draft (40th round, 1,238th overall by the Phillies).

INF Conner Hale, Mitchell/LSU (9th, 275th, Mariners): Hale has played a major role in helping LSU to the College World Series. A senior, Hale has played in 61 games and is hitting .343 with 17 doubles and 56 RBIs. Prior to joining LSU, Hale played two seasons at State College of Florida. While at Mitchell, Hale hit .505 as a senior in 2011 to lead the country.

INF Andrew Brodbeck, Dunedin/Flagler (9th, 281st, Cardinals): Brodbeck played four seasons at Flagler. As a senior, he hit .384 with 18 doubles, five home runs and 32 RBIs. He ends his college career with a .346 batting average, 13 home runs and 82 RBI. Brodbeck hit .469 in his senior year at Dunedin.

Staff writers Antonya English, Joey Knight and Kelly Parsons contributed to this report.

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