BY ZACH EWING Californian staff writer email@example.com
Jake Sweaney has heard his name called many, many times, but it was never quite like this.
Friends and family huddled around Sweaney on the couch at his home Friday as the internet stream of the Major League Baseball Draft announced: "The Phillies select ... last name, Sweaney, first name Jake, from Garces High School in Bakersfield, California."
And then, madness: Sweaney's friends, moving almost in unison, screamed and mobbed him on the couch, forming a dogpile that Sweaney not only survived but will never forget.
"It was amazing," said Sweaney, whom the Phillies took in the middle of the fourth round, with the 121st overall pick. "I never thought this was going to be me one day. Hearing my name on that internet screen, oh man, it was pretty fun."
Sweaney, an 18-year-old catcher, has a scholarship waiting at Oregon but said he's "pretty positive" that he'll forgo college baseball and sign with the Phillies. He has until July 12 to do so, with an agreement on the amount of his signing bonus the biggest hurdle for the sides to overcome.
Sweaney had his own figure in mind before the draft; he let teams know but didn't make that number public. Sweaney said the Phillies had given him an offer "slightly above" his asking price; the slot value recommended by MLB for the signing bonus of the 121st pick is $421,000.
All of that means it's likely Sweaney will head to Clearwater, Fla., to play for the Gulf Coast League Phillies, a rookie-level team that begins its season June 21.
"The Phillies are definitely my team now," Sweaney said. "Obviously any team that picks you would be amazing, but I'm pretty happy with the Phillies."
Sweaney, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound prospect who also was an All-Area wide receiver and defensive back for Garces' football team, hit .489 for Garces this season with 14 doubles, eight home runs, 39 RBIs and 22 stolen bases.
Later in the day, the Cincinnati Reds took Cal State Bakersfield pitcher Scott Brattvet late in the eighth round, with the No. 255 pick overall.
"It's been a long time coming," Brattvet said. "All the hard work is finally gonna pay off. It's a good feeling."
Brattvet, a senior who went to high school at Mission Viejo and junior college at Santa Ana, said he'll sign with the Reds; the slot value for his signing bonus is $149,900. He's the eighth CSUB player taken since the program started in 2009 and finished the season 9-1 with a 2.55 ERA.
Five more CSUB players hope to be taken with the draft concludes today rounds 11-40.
The Roadrunners have never had more than four players taken in a single draft, but they expect to break that record today.
"It's huge, especially for the future of the program," said Brattvet, a 6-1 right-hander. "Everybody that's going in this draft has never been drafted, never been highly recruited. We all had a chip on our shoulder and really put our heads down and went to work here. We proved we can play at the enxt level, and it's huge for recruiting. Now we can tell them six guys who hadn't been drafted before are playing pro ball because of what they did here."
Sweaney's selection was significant, too. He's the first player with Kern County ties to be drafted so high since the White Sox took Centennial graduate Brent Morel out of Cal Poly in the third round in 2007.
To find a player drafted straight from a Bakersfield high school in the first four rounds, you have to go back 23 years, when West's Kurt Miller was taken fifth overall by the Pirates in 1990.
"It's kind of a shock coming this early in my life, but I think I'm ready," Sweaney said. "It's setting in. It's time to get shipped off and play."