Thoughts and pictures of my local minor league baseball team the New York Penn League Connecticut Tigers; a Detriot farm team. We'll still be looking at former Navigators/Defenders players along the way....

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Like high school kids showing their acceptance letters, UConn baseball players gathered to monitor theMLB draft on Tuesday and see who was going where.

"It's kind of good that we had an off day so we could enjoy it," shortstop Nick

The Huskies, who were enjoying at day off in Clemson, S.C., before heading across the state to Columbia to begin preparing for the NCAA Super Regional this weekend against South Carolina, were only part of the banner year for Connecticut baseball talent.

Amity's Jason Esposito, the slick-fielding, power hitting third baseman for Vanderbilt, was chosen early in the second round, by theOrioles at No. 64. Esposito's teammate, catcher Curt Casali of New Canaan, was selected by the Tigers in the 10th round, so he may get the chance to begin his pro career close to home, with the Norwich-based Connecticut Tigers of the NY-Penn League.

Ahmed was both a pitcher and an infielder at East Longmeadow, Mass., and chose UConn, in part, because coach Jim Penders was interested in him as a position player. Ahmed has worked occasionally in relief for the Huskies, and many scouts had expressed the opinion that pitching was his strong suit. But Ahmed's stellar play for UConn in the Big East/Big Ten Challenge in Florida in February turned heads.

On April 25, Ahmed was injured in a collision against Quinnipiac and spent two weeks in the hospital with a tube in his chest, waiting for a collapsed lung to heal and seal.

"I was concerned at first," Ahmed said. "But the people I talked to assured me that my injury wasn't a long-term thing and it wouldn't affect the draft at all."

Ahmed returned for the Big East tournament, and he was name to the All-Regional team at shortstop Monday. Braves scouting director Tony Macio was in Clemson to scout Ahmed.

"He's a tough kid," Macio told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "He played the last [two] weeks in a flak jacket."

The Braves will keep Ahmed, hitting .333 with 35 RBI, at shortstop.

Outfielder John Andreoli, who had a 21-game hitting streak this season, was taken by the Brewers in the 17th round, 519th overall. Greg Nappo, MVP of the Regional, was chosen in the 18th round by the Marlins (553rd); Closer Kevin Vance went to the White Sox in the 19th round, (591st); Nemeth, the slugging first baseman, went to the Brewers in the 21st round (641st) and reliever David Fischer went to the Giants in the 30th round (927th).

In addition to Esposito and Vanderbilt, other state players from out-of-state colleges who were picked include Montville's Taylor Lewis, centerfielder from Maine, who was taken by the Pirates in the 10th round (302nd), and Stratford's Dan Paolini, second baseman at Siena, went to the Mariners with the next pick. Wallingford's Tyler Mizenko, a righthander at Winthrop, went to the Giants in the 28th.

Among state high school players, Southington pitcher Sal Romano, who intends to go to Tennessee, was taken in the 23rd round by the Reds, who could try to entice him away from college.

Yale pitcher Brook Hart was taken by the Rockies in the 23rd round and UConn-Avery Point pitcher Sean Donatello went to the Marlins in the 25th.

Dunedin (Fla.) High shortstop Casey Turgeon, who has committed to Florida, was drafted in the 22nd round by the Mets. Turgeon's brother is former UConn player Erik Turgeon, now a reliever with the Binghamton Mets of the Eastern League. His uncle Dave was a UConn assistant in 2004-05 and now manages State College (Pa.) of the New York-Penn League. Erik's and Casey's father is Steve Turgeon, who played in the Cardinals system. Steve, Dave and their brother Mike are from Groton. Dave and Mike also played in the minors.

The final day of the draft is Wednesday with Rounds 31-50.
Copyright © 2011, The Hartford Courant
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