Royals Take a Fling in Fourth Round, Draft Jackson

Times Staff Writer

The World Series champion Kansas City Royals drafted a shortstop from Chino and a running back from Auburn Monday.

Describing it as a “calculated gamble,” the Royals picked Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson on the fourth round of baseball’s annual June draft after making Anthony Clements of Don Lugo High in Chino their No. 1 pick, the 24th player chosen.

The first was Arkansas third baseman Jeff King, whose .376 batting average, 14 home runs and 59 runs batted in earned him the distinction of being drafted No. 1 by the Pittsburgh Pirates.


University of Texas left-hander Greg Swindell, who was 10-2 with a 1.36 earned-run average this year, went to the Cleveland Indians, who drafted second.

The Angels, with five of the first 28 picks, four as compensation for the loss of Class A free agents Juan Beniquez and Al Holland, drafted 16th, 22nd and 25th on the first round, choosing:

Pitcher Roberto Hernandez of South Carolina Aiken; first baseman-outfielder Lee Stevens of Lawrence (Kan.) High, and outfielder Terence Carr of James Bennett High in Salisbury, Md.

It was learned that the Angels also selected Pepperdine pitcher Mike Fetters and pitcher Daryl Green of Nacodoches (Tex.) High as their two compensatory picks between the first and second rounds, then selected catcher Jeff Gay of Santana High in San Diego on the second round.

The office of Commissioner Peter Ueberroth released only the names of the 26 players chosen on the first round, with the rest to be revealed on an alphabetical list next Monday.

Among the first-round highlights:

--The Dodgers, drafting 19th, selected center fielder Mike White of Loudon (Tenn.) High. The 18-year-old White, 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds, hit .535 as a senior and set a school record by hitting 42 career homers. He was not listed among Baseball America’s top 50 prospects, but scouting director Ben Wade said:

“Everyone who saw him for us liked him. He’s a left-handed hitter with real good power and that’s what we’re counting on. He was one of our top 19 prospects, so we couldn’t be more pleased.”

--USC pitcher Brad Brink was chosen by the Philadelphia Phillies, the seventh player taken, and Montclair High catcher Derek Parks, weighing scholarship offers from USC and Texas, went to the Minnesota Twins, the ninth selection.

--Outfielder Derrick May of Newark (Del.) High, the son of former major leaguer Dave May, was the Chicago Cubs’ first choice; outfielder Lee May Jr., of Marion High in Cincinnati, the son of ex- big leaguer Lee May, was the New York Mets’ first choice, and shortstop Gary Sheffield of Hillsborough High in Tampa, the nephew of Dwight Gooden, was the sixth selection and first of the Milwaukee Brewers.

The 1986 talent pool, both at the college and high school level, was considered the best in recent years. Jackson, already drafted by Tampa Bay of the NFL, provided intrigue.

Said John Scheurholz, the Kansas City general manager: “We didn’t draft him to attract attention. We feel he has the potential to be an outstanding baseball player and we think he still has interest in playing baseball.

“It’s a calculated gamble that we feel good about, but we have no commitment from Jackson. I’m sure we’ll be opening negotiations with him in the next day or two.”

The speculation has been that Jackson is using baseball as a wedge. His relatively high selection should increase his bargaining leverage with Tampa Bay.

Said Tom Zieman, his Florida attorney: “The biggest development we had today was that Bo was drafted by the world champions. The second biggest was that he was drafted on the fourth round.”

The Angels had taken a 20th-round gamble on Jackson last June, then lost negotiating rights when he returned to Auburn. This time, enjoying the five early choices and a chance to insure the continued development of their farm system, the Angels refused to gamble without a commitment Bo wouldn’t offer.

Of Monday’s selections, including those still to be announced through round seven, scouting director Larry Himes said the Angels had satisfied their primary objectives: The possible acquisition of power pitching and left-handed power hitting.

Of his first-round picks, Himes said the 6-4, 220-pound Hernandez, 21, was a No. 2 starter type capable of “logging a lot of innings and strikeouts;” the 6-5, 190-pound Stevens, 18, has a “power potential comparable to Will Clark,” and that center fielder Carr, 18, is a “Gary Pettis type” who consistently hit line drives.

In addition, it was learned Monday that Tustin High left-hander Steve Surico, considered one of the nation’s top pitching prospects, had withdrawn from the draft to accept a scholarship to Loyola Marymount and that Cal State Fullerton third baseman Pat Garman was a first-round selection of the Texas Rangers in the draft’s secondary phase.