Play­ers await MLB draft

Los Angeles Times - - BASEBALL - By Eric Sond­heimer eric.sond­heimer@la­times.com Twit­ter: @LATSond­heimer Times staff writer Mike His­er­man con­trib­uted to this re­port.

Ma­jor League Base­ball be­gins its three-day am­a­teur draft Mon­day, and South­ern Cal­i­for­nia prod­ucts should find their way to promi­nence.

The Ari­zona Di­a­mond­backs have the first se­lec­tion, fol­lowed by the Hous­ton Astros and the Colorado Rock­ies. The Dodgers pick No. 24 and the An­gels No. 26.

The first area player to be cho­sen is ex­pected to be Dil­lon Tate, a right-han­der from UC Santa Bar­bara who has been light­ing up radar guns. Tate, who played at Clare­mont High, has a fast­ball that is rou­tinely clocked in the mid- to high-90s mph. He was 8-5 with 111 strike­outs in 1031⁄ innings this sea­son.

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Next up is likely to be UCLA right-han­der James Ka­prielian, who was 10-4 with a 2.03 earned-run av­er­age and 114 strike­outs in 1062⁄ innings. He played at

3 Irvine Beck­man High.

Among high school play­ers, San Cle­mente pitcher Kolby Al­lard, Long Beach Wil­son catcher Chris Betts, Corona pitcher Tris­tan Beck and San Di­mas pitcher Peter Lam­bert could be se­lected in the first two rounds.

One in­trigu­ing part will be see­ing where play­ers pre­vi­ously se­lected but un­signed end up be­ing taken.

Phil Bick­ford was the 10th over­all pick in the 2013 draft out of West­lake Vil­lage Oaks Chris­tian, but chose to play for Cal State Fuller­ton. How­ever, the right-han­der left the Ti­tans af­ter one sea­son and played this year for Col­lege of South­ern Ne­vada, where he had a 9-1 record, 1.45 ERA and 166 strike­outs in 862⁄ innings.

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An­other top prospect to watch is Brady Aiken, who signed with UCLA when he was star­ring for San Diego Cathe­dral High and be­came the No. 1 over­all pick in the 2014 draft by the Astros. He failed to come to terms, en­rolled at IMG Academy in Florida, then had surgery for a torn ul­nar lig­a­ment in his left el­bow. An­other un­signed Astros pick, Los Alami­tos’ Ja­cob Nix, is also avail­able.

Cody Ponce, 6-5 and 235 pounds, was 5-3 with a 1.44 ERA for Di­vi­sion II Cal Poly Pomona this sea­son af­ter be­ing rated as the No. 3 over­all prospect in the Cape Cod sum­mer league in 2014.

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