It’s good to be Dylan Eskew right now.
Not only was the Sickles right-hander one of the most dominant pitchers in the area, but he recently graduated and has a full scholarship to the University of Miami. He is also expected to be selected in one of the first five rounds of the Major League Baseball draft, which begins Monday.
“I’m hoping for the first day (first two rounds), but I really don’t know,” he said.
Eskew had numerous scouts at his games throughout the high school season. What they saw was a 6-foot-3, 185-pound power pitcher who ended up striking out 87 batters in 59 innings. He was 7-0 in 11 appearances with a 0.47 earned run average.
Eskew has been one of the Gryphons’ best players since he was a freshman. But he said it really wasn’t until the end of last season that he thought he might be a draftable player.
“I’ve always wanted to play baseball but I never thought about playing professional baseball,” Eskew said. “Of course it’s every kid’s dream to play in the big leagues, but it’s not something I always thought about. It really wasn’t until after my junior year that I started to think about it.”
He’s been thinking about it a lot this season. The Gryphons had one of the best teams in the area, were upset 1-0 by Plant in the district semifinals. Eskew pitched all seven innings and didn’t allow a hit.
“I know I left it all out there,” Eskew said. “In that last game, I never threw so hard. My legs don’t normally hurt after I pitch, but they did in that game. Actually, I think I left it all out there all season.”
So much so that he felt he needed a break before the draft. On Thursday, Eskew and his family boarded a cruise to Cozumel, Mexico. They will return Monday afternoon before the draft begins that night.
Before leaving, he said he is not consumed with what round he will be taken or whether to turn pro or stay in college.
“The round really doesn’t matter,” Eskew said. “It’s really just the offer and what we think is best. I can still go to Miami, so it’s a win-win situation.”
He knows he will be drafted as a pitcher only, even though he was one of Sickles’ best hitters this season (.386 average, six homers, 26 RBIs), and played the infield when he wasn’t on the mound.
“I kind of joked that I’d also like to hit,” he said, but I don’t mind just concentrating on pitching.”
Like father, like son?
Calvary Christian shortstop Christian Cairo is committed to LSU, but he could see his name in the mid to late rounds of the draft. Cairo has been the Warriors’ starting shortstop for three years and has helped them win two state championships.
He is also the son of former major-league infielder Miguel Cairo, who played for the Rays as well as nine other teams. Christian said he spent his youth in MLB locker rooms.
“I was beyond lucky,” he said.
Because of his pedigree, and mostly because of his above-average arm at shortstop and his offense (.451, 24 RBIs, four home runs), Cairo is a prospect. Like most players who already have a college offer, he said he is going to play it cool.
“I’ve been hearing a lot about it lately, but I’m just going to let whatever happen, happen,” he said. “LSU or the draft, win-win.’’
Teammate Nolan Hudi, who lost only one high school game in his three-year career (and that was in relief), is committed to TCU. Unlike Cairo, Hudi has not been scouted as much and fully expects to attend college in the fall.
Keep an eye on
• Plant City LHP and first baseman Parker Messick has been dominant all season. The Florida State commit was 11-1 with a 1.06 ERA. He had 125 strikeouts in 86 innings pitched.
• Springstead pitcher Jack Jasiak is committed to USF. He had 113 strikeouts in 62 innings and could be a second- or third-day pick.
• Jasiak’s teammate, Jiovel Lantigua, had 13 home runs this season. He is committed to UMass-Lowell and could be a late rounder.