Jeffry Parra couldn’t hide his discontent, and his father could see it.
East Ramapo’s senior catcher heard the rumors about him possibly going in the first 10 rounds of the Major League Baseball first-year player draft. But at the conclusion of the 10th round on Friday, his name was yet to be called.
“I was nervous Day 2 cause I was supposed to go that day, but it didn’t happen,” Parra said. “I was pretty disappointed, and then my dad spoke to me this morning. He told me not to worry about it cause if I didn’t get signed this year, I would still be playing baseball in college next year.”
Rather than sit around and stress on Saturday for the latter portion of the draft, Parra decided to clear his head.
He went to play with his summer league team, and while he was doing so, his future fell into place.
The San Francisco Giants made Parra their 24th round pick (725th overall) after he confirmed that he will forgo playing in college at Western Oklahoma to begin his professional career.
“They asked me if I wanted to commit to the Giants,” Parra said. “And I said yes.”
Parra’s selection is a remarkable accomplishment for an East Ramapo program that has struggled in recent years.
“This is a huge lift for our district,” coach R.J. MacKenzie said. “A lot of our athletes feel like they have to go to private school to make it to the next level in athletics. However, this shows everyone your dreams can come true right in your home district. You don’t need to go anywhere else. Jeffry Parra is living proof.”
Parra was the first of four high school players from Section 1 to be chosen in this year’s draft, a huge statement about the improved quality of local baseball.
Rye right-hander George Kirby was the only local player ranked in Baseball America’s top 500 prospects and was considered a potential early pick. But scouts expressed concern about whether Kirby would sign instead of playing in college for Elon University, and he fell to the Mets in the 32nd round (970th overall).
“I’ve just gotten calls about signability,” Kirby said earlier in the week. “I tell everyone that I’m really looking to start my career, but it has to be worth my while to sign.”
The other two local high-schoolers who were selected were Suffern catcher Matt Popowitz, who was drafted by the Miami Marlins in the 36th round (1073rd overall), and Albertus Magnus right-hander James Reilly, who got scooped up by the Seattle Mariners in the 38th round (1137th overall).
Reilly said that he is “most likely going to school in the fall” at James Madison University, but he was thrilled to hear his name called.
“The feeling is awesome,” he said. “These past three years have been crazy. My sophomore year, I was only throwing 79-81 (mph). Then fast-forward to senior year, I’m 88-91 and I didn’t realize how close I actually was to being drafted.”