Over the years, Seminole County high schools have produced Major League Baseball players Tim Raines (both junior and senior), Davey Martinez, Eddie Taubensee, Jason Varitek, Mark Bellhorn, David Eckstein, Felipe Lopez, Rickie and Jemile Weeks, Drew Butera and Kevin Melillo, not to mention Washington Nationals Hitting Coach Rick Eckstein, and has rising stars Nick Franklin, AJ.J. Cole and Dante Bichette Jr., among others, waiting in the wings.
And it is obvious that Major League Baseball has not forgot as five more 2012 High School graduates were selected in the recent 2012 MLB First-Year Draft. And let’s not forget Lake Brantley product DJ Hicks, who was drafted out of UCF by the Minnesota Twins in the 17th Round with the 520th pick and decided to forgo his final year of eligibility to begin his professional career.
And it did not take long for the youngsters to begin their paths to professional stardom either as the San Diego Padres announced on Monday that they had signed right-handed pitcher Zach Eflin, the team's second overall pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft.
San Diego selected Eflin in the first compensation round of the Draft, using a pick they received when Heath Bell signed with Miami.
Eflin, the 33rd overall pick, pitched for Hagerty High School in Oviedo. The 6-foot-6, 215-pounder went 7-0 with 59 strikeouts in 41 innings in posting an 0.51 ERA and was a first-team All-Central Florida selection.
The UCF commit had been in San Diego over the weekend taking a physical and agreed to a deal for $1.2 million on Monday.
Eflin was the only local product taken on Day 1 of the Draft, but it did not take long for the locals to start popping up on Day 2, as Jon Sandfort became a part of Winter Springs High School history.
The 6-foot-6 pitcher became the first current Bear to be selected in the Draft, going with the 103rd overall pick in the Third Round by the Pittsburg Pirates.
The right-hander, who became a hot commodity when he improved his fastball from the low-90s to 96-plus, is actually the third player in Winter Springs history to be drafted, but the other two were taken while in college.
Sandfort, who went 8-1 with an 0.92 ERA this season while striking out 73 in 68 2/3 innings, has signed with the University of Florida but recent comments lead one to believe that he is ready to turn pro. Major League Baseball changed its rules this season and has put a money figure in place for each slot (selection). According to Baseball America, Sandfort would get $462,900 as the 103rd selection.
Later in the day, Orangewood Christian catcher Tomas Nido had his name called by the New York Mets in the Eighth Round.
The big right-handed hitter, who has signed with FSU, followed up a junior season in which he hit a Central Florida record 17 home runs by hitting .477 with seven home runs and 17 doubles as a senior for the Rams.
But that was not the end of the day for local fans as Sandfort’s battery-mate at Winter Springs, catcher Chris Breen, was selected with the 397th overall pick by the New York Yankees in the 12th Round, making him the second current Bear taken in the Draft and second Winter Springs star tabbed on the day.
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound right-handed hitter batted a School-Record .492 with seven home runs and 29 RBI this season for the Bears.
A Seminole State College of Florida signee, Breen is also the Bright House Sports Network Baseball Player of the Year and was the MVP of the FACA Baseball All-Star Game.
Seminole County made it three straight days to have someone selected in the Draft as Trinity Prep multi-sport star Max Moroff was taken in the 16th Round by the Pittsburgh Pirates with 496th overall selection.
Moroff, a 6-foot-1, 175-pound shortstop who has signed with UCF, hit .397 with five home runs, 37 runs scored, 30 walks and 23 RBI as a senior for the Saints.
Moroff’s pick gave Seminole County high schools five picks in the first 500 players of the 1,238 young men selected in the 40-round draft. An amazing feat when you consider the size of this county.