Trio taken in draft

Glendale News Press

GLENDALE — After waiting through the first two-plus days of the 2010 Major League Baseball First-Year Players Draft, three prospects with local ties finally heard their names called in the later rounds on Wednesday, the third and final day of the draft.

But for Dustin Emmons, Jesse Meaux and Lonnie Kauppila, all of whom have at least one year of college eligibility left to consider, the game plan going forward remains to wait and see.

Emmons, a 2007 Crescenta Valley High graduate, and Meaux, who graduated from Glendale in 2007, each just completed successful junior seasons at UC Riverside and UC Santa Barbara, respectively, and plan to play in amateur leagues over the summer before weighing any prospective offers from the clubs that drafted them.

In Emmons' case, that would be the Florida Marlins, who selected him with the 1,217th pick overall in the 40th round, while Meaux was picked 1,341st overall in the 44th round by the Philadelphia Phillies.

"I was pumped," said Emmons, who was in the midst of final exams on Wednesday before he got the news. "It's an honor to be even mentioned and drafted with all of those top picks."

Kauppila, a transfer from Crescenta Valley, who recently graduated from Burbank, is taking a more long-term approach to the wait-and-see tactic, indicating he will opt to attend Stanford in the fall rather than sign with the Oakland Athletics, who drafted him 1,325th overall in the 44th round.

"I wasn't really surprised, but I was just relieved that I actually got drafted, anyway," Kauppila said. "I was kind of anxious to know [when I would be drafted]. I was just waiting and trying to see what's gonna happen. I was just waiting for my name and it finally came today."

For Emmons, who went 9-4 with a 3.99 earned-run average for the Highlanders this season, it was actually the second time he had gone through the draft process. The Pittsburgh Pirates selected him 1,299th overall in the 44th round.

"This time I kind of knew I was going to get drafted somewhere," Emmons said. "Out of high school, I told everyone I was going to go to school, so I didn't think I was going to get drafted.

"It was cool, it was definitely more fun this time because I knew I was going to get drafted, I just didn't know when."

Meaux, who went 8-3 with a 4.41 ERA this season for the Gauchos and was a Big West Conference honorable mention, got calls from his advisor and from a Phillies scout with the news on Wednesday.

"It was great [to hear the news]," Meaux said. "It's a lifetime achievement, it's one of the coolest things that's ever happened to me. I've been working at it my whole life and it's good to know that somebody at the pro level really does want me."

Once the thrill of being drafted wears off, Emmons and Meaux have to make a decision about whether to sign any eventual contract offered by the major league clubs, who hold the players' exclusive draft rights until Aug. 15.

Emmons said he plans to play summer ball in the Cape Cod League and Meaux indicated he may do the same while also raising the possibility of playing for the Santa Barbara Foresters of California Baseball League this summer.

Both players said they will continue to be monitored by scouts from the clubs over the summer and wait and see what kind of offer is made.

"It would have taken a lot to get me out of [Santa Barbara], like top-10 or top-12 money," Meaux said, "so after that [fell through] I thought there was still a good chance of me to go, but it doesn't really matter when because if I do sign, it would be based on how I do in the summer."

Emmons said he is looking forward to continuing to improve over the summer, regardless of where he ends up in the fall.

"That will be a really good experience for me and hopefully [the Marlins] will have a scout up there and watch to see how I do this summer," Emmons said. ""I'm just gonna go to summer ball, have a good time and try to help my team win. I'm going to keep working hard."

Kauppila, the reigning All-Area Player of the Year, batted .443 with three home runs, 22 RBIs, 35 runs scored and 21 stolen bases as a senior.

"I knew I was going to get drafted, I just didn't know when," Kauppila said. "My signability was really low, I guess, because I was asking for a lot of money [to sign]. All the teams kind of knew that and with Stanford and all, they thought I was pretty much going to go with the college choice."

Kauppila said he is excited to attend college and improve his stock for future drafts.

"It's probably for sure I'm going to go to college and just wait three years and try and get picked a lot higher next time," Kauppila said. "I'm not too worried. We should have a really good team next year [at Stanford] and I'm kind of excited to see what happens next year.

"I've still got a lot of weight to gain and a lot of stuff to learn, so I think three years down the road I'll be a lot better and have a better opportunity of going higher."

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