TAMPA — Perhaps the biggest local story line of this week's Major League Baseball first-year player draft was the fact that a record nine players from the University of Tampa were selected — including five who went to high school in Hillsborough County.
On Wednesday's final day of the draft, former Plant outfielder Dylan Brown was the fifth UT player from Hillsborough County drafted, taken in the 37th round by the Mets. He joined Day Two Spartans draftees Jared Simon (Armwood), Carmine Giardina (Durant), A.J. Pinera (Sickles), and Austin Evans (Chamberlain). Former Northeast standout Josh Bowman was also drafted Tuesday.
"If I could do it all over again, I would have started here from the beginning," said Giardina, who transferred from UCF following his sophomore year. "It is run like a pro program."
UT had more draftees than Division I state schools Florida (six), Florida State (six), Miami (five) and USF (four).
Of the five local Spartans three were Division I transfers — Brown from Oklahoma State, Evans from Alabama and Giardina.
"Players need to play to develop, and I think that's what they're able to do here," UT coach Joe Urso said. "We don't have the big budgets that other schools do, but we have kids that come in devoted from Day One to compete. I think it shows that UT is as good as anyone in the country.
"One of the best compliments we get from scouts is that our kids are prepared for pro baseball. Both myself and (pitching coach) Sam Militello have coached in the minor leagues, so I think we've kind of brought that development side of minor-league baseball to college."
BRANDON TRIO DRAFTED: Brandon catcher Roderick Shoulders, drafted by Boston in the 20th round Tuesday, wore a new Red Sox hat to graduation practice Wednesday. And by the end of the day, two more Eagles were drafted.
Centerfielder James Ramsay, a USF recruit, was selected by the Yankees in the 38th round, and shortstop Spencer Haynes was taken by Oakland in the 43rd round.
That Ramsay was drafted wasn't a surprise. He had predraft workouts with the Yankees, Rays and Mets. But Haynes, who has signed with State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota, was a dark horse. Brandon coach Matt Stallbaumer said the A's and Royals stumbled across Haynes while recruiting Ramsay and Shoulders.
"I don't think he necessarily expected it," Stallbaumer said. "That's kind of been the way it's been for him since he's been here. When you look at those three, they've been the heart and soul since the beginning. They've been a big part of turning this thing around."
All three graduated Wednesday evening.
ODDS AND ENDS: Brooks-DeBartolo also had three players drafted after OF Kelvin Mention was taken in the 36th round by the Twins. … Tampa Catholic catcher Shane Rowland, whose father is the Yankees' director of international scouting, was drafted by the rival Red Sox. … Jesuit catcher Bobby Eveld, drafted in the 50th round by the Mets, was the 24th-to-last pick. Eveld, Jesuit's starting quarterback, is a preferred walk-on at USF. … Among the county standouts who didn't get drafted were Alonso LHP Thomas Dorminy and Gaither CF Drew Doty. Dorminy received late interest from the Cardinals and Marlins, but his father said he will look ahead to USF. Doty has signed with St. Petersburg College.