David Doorneweerd had a sinking feeling. Sinking as in falling further and further in Monday's Major League Baseball amateur draft. "Yesterday and today I had been on a real downer," the Ridgewood High pitching ace said. "Maybe I was thinking too high."
Or not high enough.
When Pittsburgh Pirates scout Paul Tinnell called at about 4:30 to tell Doorneweerd he had been taken in the second round with the 68th pick overall, Doorneweerd was stunned. He had anticipated being chosen in the third round or higher.
"The second round? My eyes got big," Doorneweerd said.
Perhaps that was because Tinnell called so late in the afternoon. But Tinnell was halfway to Jacksonville to meet the Pirates' top pick, catcher John Farrell of Florida Community College, when Doorneweerd was selected. Tinnell found out later when he checked in with the team from a roadside phone booth.
"I was thinking eighth or ninth round when he called," Doorneweerd said. "Then he said, "I think you're going to be happy with where we drafted you.' It was unbelievable."
Tinnell could not believe Doorneweerd was available.
"We got the one we really wanted," Tinnell, the Pirates' Florida scouting chief, told Ridgewood coach Larry Beets. "We were surprised he was still available with the 68th pick. We got the No.
1 and No.
2 from Florida. It's a great day to be a scout."
Beets said he believed Doorneweerd is the highest draft selection ever from the North Suncoast.
Doorneweerd said he expects the Pirates to offer a six-figure bonus _ second-round picks usually earn $90,000 to $125,000 _ and assign him to the club's Gulfcoast Rookie League affiliate in Bradenton if the sides agree to a contract.
Although projected as a fourth- to 10th-round pick, Doorneweerd, the St. Petersburg Times two-time North Suncoast Player of the year, saw his stock rise after a stellar season. He went 13-1, struck out 196 batters in 102 innings and allowed just four earned runs. He also improved his fastball 3 mph to near 90.
If the Pirates are unable to sign the 6-foot-2, 185-pound Doorneweerd, he will attend the University of Georgia this fall on scholarship. Dennis Doorneweerd, David's father, expects an agreement with the Pirates.
"I think the Pirates will be really interested in signing David," he said. "They are not going to waste a top-10 pick on someone they can't sign."
Doorneweerd wasn't Tampa Bay's highest selection. St. Petersburg Lakewood's Trevor Mallory, a right-handed pitcher, was chosen in the second round at 56th by the Toronto Blue Jays, becoming the highest Pinellas high school player ever selected.
The state of Florida also was well represented with four first-round selections: University of Florida right-hander John Burke went to Houston with the No.
6 choice; California took Florida State first baseman Eduardo Perez (No.
17); St. Louis chose Orlando-Dr. Phillips right-hander Brian Barber (No.
22), and Pittsburgh tabbed Farrell with the round's 24th pick.
Left-handed pitcher Brien Taylor of Beaufort, N.C., was the first player chosen in the draft. Taylor, 19, who played at East Carteret High School, was selected by the New York Yankees. He finished his prep career 29-6 with a 1.25 ERA and 476 strikeouts in 239 innings.
Although Major League Baseball will not release the names of players selected after the first round until June 12, other notable Tampa Bay area draftees included Eckerd College pitcher Jim Mecir (third round, Seattle); University of South Florida pitcher Mark Hubbard (third round, Yankees); Dunedin High catcher Mark Gipner (fourth round, Yankees); University of Tampa outfielder Ozzie Timmons (fifth round, Cubs); St. Petersburg-Dixie Hollins pitcher Brian Williard (sixth round, California); Brandon outfielder Bruce Thompson (eighth round, Seattle); and Tampa Jesuit pitcher Brad Radke (eighth round, Minnesota).
_ Information from Times staff writer Don Banks and the Associated Press was used in this report.