Only minutes after his name was called, Jake Cave was wearing a New York Yankees cap (courtesy of his brother-in-law). Will Lamb was taking in some good news less than 24 hours after his season had come to such a rude ending.
Both were hoping to go Monday night in the MLB draft, but they were plenty happy to get the call on what became an historic Tuesday afternoon. They were two of six players from Peninsula high schools who were chosen, making it the area's most-productive draft ever. A seventh Peninsula player was drafted Wednesday when Tabb's Patrick Corbett went in the 47th round to the Kansas City Royals.
Cave, who was drafted in the sixth round out of Kecoughtan, was the first of three Peninsula District prospects to go. Menchville's Deshorn Lake was taken in the 12th by the Boston Red Sox. Former Monarch Jharel Cotton (Miami-Dade) went in the 28th round to the New York Mets.
Lamb (83rd overall), a York graduate now at Clemson, was the first of three Bay Rivers alums to get called. Former Bruton pitcher Mark Montgomery (Longwood) was selected by the Yankees in the 11th round. Tabb graduate Adam McConnell (Richmond) went in the 30th round to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Until Tuesday, the most Peninsula-area players ever taken in a single MLB draft was four in 1977. There were other interesting notes as well.
**Lamb became the Peninsula's earliest draft pick since Phoebus' Wayne Gomes was drafted in the first round by Philadelphia in 1993. That was also the last time this area had two players drafted in the first 10 rounds — Kecoughtan outfielder Macey Brooks was taken in the second by San Francisco.
**This is the first time two area players were drafted directly out of high school since 1992, when York's Robb Berryman (20th round, Boston) and Hampton's Lewis Spencer (48th round, Boston).
**Cave became the fifth high schooler from the Peninsula to be taken in the first 10 rounds since the draft's inception in 1965. He was the earliest since Bethel's Chris Ochsenfeld (fifth round, L.A. Dodgers).
Cave and Lake both have signed with Division I programs, and the four college players are all juniors. So each has a decision to make.
Lamb's question is whether he can improve his stock, and therefore his signing bonus, by returning for his senior year. But given that he was taken in the second round, where bonuses tend to be in the half-million-dollar range, it could be risky to go back to Clemson.
Cave might have gone later than hoped, but he landed with a big-market team that spends money. Last year, the Yankees signed sixth-round pick Gabe Encinas to a reported $300,000 bonus.
Compare that to Jared Simon, the Rockies' sixth-round pick, who was taken six spots ahead of Encinas. His bonus was $125,000.
"If you're going to get picked in the lower rounds," Cave said, "the Yankees are who you want to get picked by."
Lamb, whose junior year ended with a 14-1 loss to Connecticut on Monday in the NCAA regionals, is a two-way prospect who pitches and plays center field for the Tigers. However, Rangers director of scouting Kip Fagg said Lamb will be used exclusively as a pitcher.
"He had a great year with the bat, but you can see the potential on the mound," Fagg told the Dallas Morning News. "That's where we set our mind at."
Cave, however, was drafted as an outfielder.
"All along, they wanted me as a hitter," Cave said of the Yankees. "If it doesn't work out for some reason, I can always go back to pitching. But I'd like to stick with being a hitter."Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times