Rockies grab Meaux in 19th round

GLENDALE — While it didn't surprise him all that much, Jesse Meaux's 19th-round selection by the Colorado Rockies in the 2011 Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft likely defied most expectations, as it came more than 20 rounds earlier than his previous selection in 2010.

On the other hand, Ryan Sherriff's selection in the 28th round by the St. Louis Cardinals was a bit surprising for a different reason, as it fell short of projections that had him going between the 10th and 20th rounds.

Meaux, a right-handed pitcher who graduated from Glendale High in 2007, and Sherriff, a left-handed pitcher from the 2011 Glendale Community College baseball team, were part of a group of five local prospects to be drafted on Tuesday, with the rest coming from the roster of the Glendale Angelenos, a first-year California Collegiate League baseball team that just moved into the Jewel City.

Meaux, who graduates from UC Santa Barbara on Saturday, was riding his bike home from the Gauchos' training facility on Tuesday when a teammate called and told him he had been drafted.

"He told me I got drafted and I was like, 'No way, what team?'" Meaux said. "I was very excited. I got off my bike immediately.

"I'm very excited, I'm happy where I went. It's really what I was hoping for."

After being chosen 1,341st overall in the 44th round by the Philadelphia Phillies last year, Meaux chose to return to UCSB for his senior season. He went 3-5 with a 3.70 earned-run average as a senior despite dealing with a biceps injury late in the season, and raised his draft stock considerably, as the 588th overall pick.

"I'm very, very happy with my decision to come back to school," Meaux said. "I've matured as a player, as a leader on a baseball team, as a student, as a person overall. The experience I had this senior year, even though in the field I was injured for those last couple weeks, overall was just priceless. It far out values the signing bonus I would have got if I had tried to sign last year.

"I really got let down last year in the draft and I didn't want to get my hopes up for this year, so I was very excited where I ended up getting drafted. I feel that I'm a top-20 pick, personally, so I was very happy, somewhat surprised that's where I ended up getting picked."

A scout from the Rockies called Meaux on Tuesday promising to stay in touch over the next couple days to figure out when they would sign him and when he would be able to begin his first assignment.

"I have a final tomorrow and I'm graduating on Saturday, so I really won't be able to do much until Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday," Meaux said.

Meaux grew up a Los Angeles Dodgers fan, but said he would be able to make the adjustment to playing for one of their division rivals.

"I like their developmental programs that they are working with," Meaux said. "It's a great organization and I'm very happy they're the team that chose me."

Sherriff, who was drafted in the 33rd round by Washington Nationals last year, admitted the wait to hear his name was getting somewhat frustrating until the Cardinals tabbed him with the 860th overall pick.

"I was watching along [on the computer] and all of a sudden my name popped up," Sherriff said. "I was sitting next to my dad and I told him, 'If I don't go in this round, I'm going to get kind of mad and then all of a sudden it says Ryan Sherriff. Then we got all excited and the Cardinals called."

Sherriff is coming off a strong season at Glendale college, in which he went 5-4 with a 2.45 earned-run average in leading the Vaqueros to the state championship tournament. He is also a member of the Angelenos.

"Honestly, in the 20-plus years I've been involved in scouting, this is the [talent] heaviest draft I've ever seen," Angelenos team president and coach Tony Riviera said. "The fact that a player like Ryan Sherriff was still out there [as long as he was] shows that. This is a guy who would have gone by the 10th round any other year."

Sherriff said he was told he could go anywhere from the 10th to the 15th round, and more realistically 15th to the 20th. After first strongly believing that the Milwaukee Brewers might take him, Sherriff got a call from the Cardinals in the 12th round saying they were looking at him, and the wait continued.

"Things happen, people slip," Sherriff said. "Hopefully we can get a good deal done and I can go out and play some pro baseball. … It's been my dream since I was 3 years old."

Angelenos outfielder Matt Young out of Compton College was taken 450th overall in the 14th round by the Tampa Bay Rays, followed by outfielder/pitcher Drew Muren out of Cal State Northridge 670th overall in the 22nd round and shortstop Juan Perez, the Western State Conference Most Valuable Player from College of the Canyons, 805th in the 26th round by theCincinnati Reds.

Riviera said all three have the tools to make it in the big leagues, particularly Young, whom he projects to arrive in three years or less. He said he will be speaking with his players soon about their next move.

"You hope first and foremost that they'll sign a pro contract and play major league baseball," Riviera said. "That's the advice I'm always going to give a player in that situation."

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