Disappointment seemed to be the best adjective to describe the 2012 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft for most locals. Hopes don’t appear to be set too high this year, but there’s no telling how it will all unfold.
That’s not to say a few Glendale Community College, Glendale Angelenos and Crescenta Valley High products will be shocked to see their name on the big board at some point in the draft.
The three-day draft begins with the first and second rounds, which will be broadcast on the MLB Network, Thursday at 4 p.m. PDT. The third through 10th rounds will unfold Friday and the final 30 rounds will play out Saturday with both starting at 10 a.m. and streamed on MLB.com.
Seven players with local ties were drafted last season, including four Angelenos and a pair a of Vaqueros. GCC Coach Chris Cicuto expects another pair of his players — right-handed pitchers Keaton Leach and Spencer Jack — to be drafted again after both drew interest from MLB scouts this past season.
“They have a pretty good chance,” Cicuto said. “Those are our two main guys this year.”
After graduating from Loyola High in 2010, Jack was a redshirt freshman and medical redshirt at Jacksonville University before transferring to Glendale college for his sophomore campaign.
The 6-foot-5, 210-pound pitcher emerged as one of the Vaqs’ most effective arms in a deep bullpen, alongside Leach. He logged a 2.16 earned-run average and gave up 26 hits and eight walks through 25 innings, and struck out 27 batters and recorded two saves.
“I could see him going in the first 20 rounds, but he didn’t pitch the last two weeks of the season, so I don’t know if that will affect his draft status,” said Cicuto of an injury that limited Jack down the stretch.
Leach, who stands at 6-foot-2, was solid in whatever role he had in 2013. The freshman finished with a 5-1 record and a save through 41 1/3 innings this season. He posted a 2.61 ERA and struck out 23 batters to 19 walks.
“Keaton has been developing at a faster rate than we thought,” Cicuto said of the South Pasadena High graduate. “Even if he got drafted, I think he’d come back for one more year to keep developing.
“I see him playing professionally at some point, but I think he’s a year or two away from getting some big interest. I could see a team taking a flyer on him, but I just don’t think he’d sign.”
Perhaps it was Troy Mulcahey who was hit with the biggest disappointment last year. The 2012 Crescenta Valley High graduate came into last year’s draft with hopes of being drafted as early as the sixth round but wasn’t selected at all.
The 2011 All-Area Baseball Player of the Year drew serious interest from six MLB teams — including the Philadelphia Phillies, Houston Astros and Detroit Tigers — in his freshman year at Fullerton College. He’ll likely stay put and focus on getting healthy after a shoulder injury in the middle of the season set him back.
“At this point, I think he is just looking at coming back, getting his arm healthy and starting to throw again,” said Mulcahey’s dad, Dan Mulcahey. “If he gets drafted then that’s great and he’ll have to take a look at it, but we’re not sure what to expect.”
Mulcahey attempted to pitch through an injured shoulder he suffered diving into home plate in his three-hit, 5-1 Fullerton win over Riverside on March 21, but wasn’t as effective.
Fullerton, which went on to finish runner-up in the California Community College Athletic Assn. Championship, still benefited from Mulcahey’s bat. He was named All-Southern California All-American after he hit .322 (46 for 143) with a team-high 33 runs batted in and 12 doubles.
“One team gave him a letter to fill out for his offense,” said Dan of the Astros, “that’s never happened. In the past, they’ve always just wanted him for his pitching.”
The dual threat started the year as Fullerton’s ace on the hill. He made 10 appearances, eight starts and posted a 3-3 record with a 3.08 ERA, 37 strikeouts, 38 hits and 30 walks in 49 2/3 innings.
For now, Mulcahey is resting his arm and will look to get back on the mound come July or August in hopes of improving his draft positioning for 2014.
“He’s on the two-year plan,” Dan said. “He wanted to get [to Fullerton] and make his mark and everything. After next year, I would say he’ll be ready to go.”
Cicuto said former Vaquero, Hoover High and current Glendale Angelenos slugger Sako Chapjian is another possibility to be drafted for the second time in three years.
The infielder/catcher hoped to improve his draft stock in his 2012 junior season at Cal State Dominguez Hills, but was passed up after the MLB draft was trimmed to 40 rounds that year.
This year, the Atlanta Braves 45th-round pick at 1,376th overall in 2011 hopes his injury-shortened senior season at Lewis-Clark State College will land him somewhere. He played in 29 of Lewis-Clark’s 60 games and batted .323 (21 for 65) and slugged .523 with 14 runs batted in.
While recent Crescenta Valley graduate Ted Boeke’s name may show up on the draft board at some point, Falcons Coach Phil Torres hinted it’ll be tough to pull him away from his college plans, as Boeke committed to play at Loyola Marymount University Monday.
“I’m sure Teddy would’ve got drafted if he didn’t want to play college so much,” Torres said.
Still, you never do know how things will play out.
“Maybe somebody will take a flyer,” Torres said.
—Grant Gordon contributed to this report.