June 8, 2007

Two members of the 2007 Notre Dame baseball team and five of the program’s signees/incoming players were selected in Friday’s rounds of the Major League draft. Many of the signees – particularly righthanded pitchers Evan Danieli (Minnesota Twins, 33rd round), Brian Dupra (Texas Rangers, 36th round) and Ryan Sharpley (Chicago White Sox, 34th round) – all were among the nation’s top-rated prospects but it is general knowledge that they each dropped far down in the draft due to their strong commitment to Notre Dame (a.k.a. “signability” issues). Based on where the highly-regarded Perfect Game scouting service had them rated – Danieli as the 40th-best prospect in all of high school baseball, Dupra as the 55th and Sharpley at No. 140 – each of those players could have been selected somewhere in the first five rounds (presumably if teams were assured they would have signed and thus bypassed their college careers at Notre Dame).

(note: check back later to this release for complete updated info. on these seven players)

For historical perspective, former Notre Dame standout pitcher Grant Johnson was projected as a second-round talent coming out of high school but was not even drafted that year (2001) due to his strong commitment to Notre Dame. The Chicago Cubs later picked Johnson in the second round of the 2004 draft, following his junior season at Notre Dame. More recently, righthander Jeff Manship was rated as the 13th-best prospect in all of high school baseball heading into the 2003 draft but he ended up being just a token 50th-round pick – again, due to a strong Notre Dame commitment. Manship also was drafted after his junior season at Notre Dame, in 2006, and has quickly moved up the Twins minor-league system.

Danieli and Dupra potentinally would form one of the nation’s top-rated freshman pitching tandem’s during the 2008 college baseball season while the addition of Sharpley would give Notre Dame possibly the nation’s top trio of rookie pitchers for the 2008 season.

Note that righthanded pitchers Joey Williamson (Colorado Rockies, 36th round) and Dan Kapala (46th round, New York Yankees) each have one year of college eligibility remaining (Kapala would have to be accepted for a fifth year). Also of note, Sharpley is the brother of current Notre Dame football quarterback/baseball first baseman Evan Sharpley while Matt Scioscia (Anageim Angels, 41st round) is the son of current Angels manager Mike Scioscia. Golden Tate (Arizona Diamondbacks, 42nd round) – who intends to compete for Notre Dame open’s center field spot in the 2008 season – is a Notre Dame football signee (as a defensive back).

The five incoming players mentioned above are part of a group of 12 prospective newcomers to the Notre Dame program who have been projected by Perfect Game as one of the nation’s top-10 recruiting classes for the 2008 season.

New this year is a signing deadline of Aug. 15 for all drafted players (teams lose draft rights after that date).

Here is where the seven players with Notre Dame connections were selected:

33rd round (Minnesota Twins) – RHP Evan Danieli (HS Sr. 6-8/225; East Hanover, NJ/Seton Hall Prep
34th round (Chicago White Sox) – RHP/IF Ryan Sharpley (HS Sr. 6-4/185; Marshall, MI/Marshall HS), brother of ND QB/1B Evan Sharpley
36th round (Colorado Rockies) – RHP Joey Williamson (ND Jr.; 6-1/195; Lantana, FL/Santaluces HS)
36th round (Texas Rangers) – RHP Brian Dupra (HS Sr.; 6-3/195; Rochester, NY/Greece Athena HS)
41st round (Anaheim Angels) – C/1B Matt Scioscia (HS Sr.; 6-2/235; Westlake Village, CA/Encino Crespi HS, son of Angels manager Mike Scioscia
42nd round (Arizona Diamondbacks) – OF Golden Tate (HS Sr.; 6-1/180; Hendersonville, TN/Pope John Paul HS), Notre Dame football signee as a defensive back
46th round (New York Yankees) – RHP Dan Kapala (ND Sr,; 6-4/215; Royal Oak, MI/Shrine Catholic HS)