Major League Baseball draft could have been a high school graduation ceremony. Of the first 60 picks on June 7-8th, 31 went to students that had not yet donned a college baseball uniform, making scouts call this one of the deepest pools of high school talent in recent memory.
Of the over 400 high school students that heard their names announced, (out of 1453), 18 came from Illinois.
This was the 5th highest total of the 50 U.S. states. Only California, with 78 high school draftees, Florida (55), Texas (34), and Georgia, (21) had more high school students drafted than Illinois.
Also in the top ten were Arizona and Washington state (17), New Jersey (13), and North Carolina and Alabama (10).
There were as many high school students as there were college students drafted out of Illinois, and three of those high schoolers, Jake Smolinski, T.J. McFarland, and Casey Crosby, went in the first five rounds.
As of July 30th, three of those 18 have signed contracts; Jake Smolinski, with the Washington Nationals, Butch Biela, with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Kyle Ayers, with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Another five of them were picked by Illinois “local” teams. Three by the Chicago White Sox (Grant Monroe, John Flanagan, and John Grim), one by the Chicago Cubs (Carlos Rivera), and one by the St. Louis Cardinals (Brett Zawacki).
Below is a complete list of the Illinois high school students taken in the 2007 draft, including their position in the draft, their position on the field, and the team that drafted them. Only players selected in the first five rounds are profiled, the rest are listed with their draft information.
The 2007 Illinois high school baseball Draft Class
(Italics indicates signed contract as of July 30th)
Jake Smolinski 3b: Boylan Catholic High School, Rockford, IL
6th pick of the 2nd round, 70th overall, to the Washington Nationals
The 6-0, 180 pound third baseman was also a quarterback on the Boylan Catholic football team during his high school career. He had committed to Clemson, but signed a contract with the Nationals after he was drafted, and could opt to go into the minor leagues. He was RISE magazine’s Gatorade player of the year for the 2006-2007 season. Boylan baseball head coach Paul Heitkamp said that Smolinksi “has all the tools you look for in an elite player. He posted a .531 batting average in the regular season in 2007, with a .642 on base percentage, and a whopping .894 slugging percentage.
T.J. McFarland LHP: Stagg High School, Palos Heights, IL
13th pick of the 4th round, 137th overall, to the Cleveland Indians
Listed at 6-3, 190 pounds on the draft database, McFarland finished his senior season with a 7-3 record as a starting pitcher, and staff ace of the Stagg HS Chargers. His contributions on the mound and at the plate led Daily Southtown correspondent Tim O’Reilly to say that “perhaps there is no high school baseball player in the area that means more to his team” than McFarland. Stagg coach Matt O’Neil told the Daily Southtown that he told his players “playing with him is a once-in-a-lifetime thing.” He can throw 91-92 consistently. It is indicated on the database that he has committed to Missouri in the fall, but still “figures to be sign-able.”
Casey Crosby LHP: Kaneland High School, Maple Park, IL
27th pick of the 5th round, 181st overall, to the Detroit Tigers
Also a high school football star, the 6-5, 200 pound left-hander has a commitment to play at the University of Illinois in the fall, and has not yet signed a contract. After recovering from a torn meniscus his sophomore year, Crosby increased his velocity into the low 90s, and made a strong showing at the Plainfield South high school baseball showcase in front of scouts and college coaches. He was Prep Baseball Report’s #1 ranked Illinois prospect for 2007.
Cody Scarpetta RHP: Guilford High School, Rockford, IL
7th pick of the 11th round, 341st overall, to the Milwaukee Brewers
Brett Zawacki RHP: LaSalle-Peru Township High School, LaSalle, IL
18th pick of the 12th round, 382nd overall, to the St. Louis Cardinals
Butch Biela C: Palatine High School, Palatine, IL
4th pick of the 13th round, 398th overall, to the Pitsburgh Pirates
Elliot Soto SS: Dundee-Crown High School, Carpentersville, IL
28th pick of the 13th round, 422nd overall, to the Minnesota Twins
Kyle Ayers RHP: Oswego High School, Oswego, IL
1st pick of the 14th round, 425th overall, to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Kyle Kaminska RHP: Naperville Central High School, Naperville, IL
12th pick of the 25th round, 766th overall, to the Florida Marlins
John Flanagan LHP: Belleville High School, Belleville, IL
25th pick of 30th round, 929th overall, to the Chicago White Sox
Grant Monroe RHP: Schaumburg High School, Schaumburg, IL
23rd pick of the 38th round, 1158th overall, to the Chicago White Sox
Elliott Armstrong OF: Harlan Community High School, Chicago, IL
14th pick of the 39th round, 1177th overall, to the Atlanta Braves
John Grim 1b: John Hersey High School, Arlington Heights, Ill.
22nd pick of the 44th round. 1317th overall, to the Chicago White Sox
John Williams 3b: Niles North High School, Skokie, IL
22nd pick of the 46th round, 1367th overall, to the Minnesota Twins
Seth Blair RHP: Rock Falls High School, Rock Falls, IL
20th pick of 47th round, 1388th overall, to the Oakland Athletics
Carlos Rivera OF: East Aurora High School, Aurora IL
3rd pick of the 48th round, 1393rd overall, to the Chicago Cubs
Tyler Newsome OF: Marist High School, Chicago, IL
5th pick of the 49th round, 1416th overall, to the Baltimore Orioles
Paul Zarlengo 1b: Marian Catholic High School, Chicago Heights, IL
15th pick of the 50th round, 1447th overall to the Texas Rangers