It is a simple formula, but one baseball has held for decades: Throw in the 90s and major league scouts will take notice.
Galena senior Drew Anderson began to do just that last summer, and the scouts came. They stuck around when he showed control and poise to go along with a low-90s fastball.
But one scout, Joey Davis of the Philadelphia Phillies, paid extra attention to Anderson. And it was the Phillies who took the 6-foot-3 right-hander in the 21st round of last week’s MLB first-year player draft.
“I was a little surprised but they’d been talking to me for a while,” said Anderson, who was heading to Lake Tahoe with friends last week when he was drafted with the 668th overall pick. “Damn, I just got drafted,” he said after getting the phone call.
“We felt he had a chance to go somewhere between the 20th and 30th rounds,” Galena coach Ron McNutt said. “In the last half of the season, he was in the low 90s consistently. When a kid touches 90, they’re going to take a look at you. Drew is going to have a chance. He has a lot of potential. His velocity will increase as time goes on.”
Potential defined the Phillies’ draft strategy, according to ESPN’s Keith Law.
“The Phillies went after — wait for it — upside,” Law wrote in sizing up Philadelphia’s draft.
Anderson certainly fits the description. The 18-year-old shut out nationally recognized teams Amador Valley and Chaminade in separate California tournaments this spring, with 21 strikeouts and three walks, but also had a losing record in Northern 4A league play.
“He had an up-and-down year,” McNutt said. “But the arm is there. The potential is there. It’s all in his hands now.”
Anderson, who had a 3.08 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 37 innings in league play, is the region’s first player to be drafted out of high school since Galena outfielder Brian Pointer went to the Phillies in the 28th round of the 2010 draft.
Anderson said he is leaning toward signing rather than playing at Mesa Community College in Arizona next year.
“It’s a win-win situation either way,” he said. “I’m just waiting right now to see what happens.”
Anderson’s father, Jim, has been in contact with the Phillies. An offer hasn’t yet been made, but the Andersons expect one later this week. It is unlikely the signing bonus will exceed the prescibed $100,000 for draftees in rounds 11 and beyond.
Under the new draft rules, teams have until July 15 to sign their picks.