It’s the finest form of flattery for a college baseball program.
It’s also a major pain.
Five of Pepperdine’s top recruits were taken in the first 15 rounds of this week’s major league draft, forcing Coach Frank Sanchez to unleash enough pitches to force a full count.
He will meet with each player and spell out precisely why spending at least three years in Malibu beats the bush leagues.
“We have some very valid statistics about the success of college players versus high school players in the pros,” he said. “Who is more prepared to deal with rigors of minor league baseball? There is a reason why most major leaguers were college players.”
Countering his argument are dollar signs, especially the several hundred thousand that second-round picks Sean Douglass and Dane Sardinha are sure to be offered in signing bonuses.
Douglass, a 6-foot-5 right-handed pitcher from Antelope Valley High, was taken by the Baltimore Orioles; Sardinha, a catcher from Kamehemeha High in Hawaii, was selected by the Kansas City Royals.
In addition, infielder Matt Boone of Villa Park High was a third-round pick of the Detroit Tigers, left-handed pitcher Paul Avery of Fresno City College was a fifth-round choice of the Florida Marlins and right-handed pitcher Richard Sundstrom of Cypress College was a 15th-round pick of the Seattle Mariners.
Sundstrom was also drafted by the Mariners last season and turned down a $200,000 offer a few days before this year’s draft. Seattle picked him again.
Nevertheless, Sanchez will state his case.
“We will have ongoing dialogue with these guys,” he said. “The guys we recruit are good students. College is a great option for them.
“A lot of people can’t believe a youngster would turn down $600,000 to go to college. But the bonuses are going up every year. In three years, that number could double.”
Grossmont College left-handed pitcher Darren Murphy, a Northridge recruit, was drafted by the Orioles in the 12th round.
Although he had not heard that the Matador program is in danger of being cut to meet gender equity guidelines, he said he was leaning toward turning professional.
Two college players from the area were drafted. Stanford catcher Jon Schaeffer, who attended Harvard-Westlake High, was picked in the ninth round by the Minnesota Twins, and Nevada third baseman Andy Dominique of Alemany was the 26th-round choice of the Philadelphia Phillies.
Alemany first baseman Bill Scott was taken in the 23rd round by the Atlanta Braves. Cal Lutheran left-handed pitcher Richard Bell was selected in the 28th round by the Dodgers.
Camarillo High second baseman Andy Kroneberger was taken by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 32nd round but will probably attend junior college.
Also drafted were Justin Ames, a pitcher from Moorpark High (42nd round, Milwaukee) and Jason Westemeir, a pitcher from Alemany (51st, Atlanta).