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Waldrop taken by Twins as 25th overall pick in baseball draft
If money talks go as expected with Twins, ex-FHS baseball star will sign with American League organization and bypass college career at Vandy

The payoff for leading your high school baseball team to a second consecutive state title with a sensational pitching year has been a “Major League” rise in draft status.

Farragut High School baseball star Kyle Waldrop and his father, Steve, both reflected on a stunning rise in Kyle’s pro draft status from a “fifth to tenth round” projected choice in March to the 25th overall pick in the first round of the Major League Baseball Draft Monday.

The Minnesota Twins chose the 2004 FHS graduate, leaving his commitment to Vanderbilt University in limbo at best.

“I kind of heard from some people that I was going to get some pro interest, but I never thought it would escalate to this level and get this stressful and this tough a decision,” Waldrop said. “I thought I was going to get a little pro interest, but it wasn’t going to be enough to take me away from college.”

Having just led his Admirals to back-to-back Class AAA state titles as a with a perfect 14-0 pitching record, tiny 0.15 earned run average, 118 strikeouts compared to just seven walks and a fastball clocked at up to 93 mph, Waldrop said most major league scouts project him as a pitcher. Reportedly compared to New York Yankees and former L.A. Dodger All-star pitcher Kevin Brown, Waldrop was flattered but added, “I still have a long way to go.”

Waldrop made it perfectly clear Monday morning that he’d bypass his commitment to Vanderbilt “if a great opportunity arises.”

With that opportunity apparently on his doorstep, little time will be wasted in financial negotiations between the Waldrops and the Twins.

“They’ll come in, sometime probably this week, with some type of an offer, and we’ll go from there and just sit down and really decide what I want to do with my future,” Waldrop said.

However, “basically there’s going to have to be some money involved to take me away from Vanderbilt,” he added. “Each club gives their top picks basically every chance to make the majors.”

Waldrop, 18, said he will be leaning on both his father and mother, Karen, for support and advice in this huge decision.

“We’ve sat down and talked, many nights and a bunch of times, just about the whole situation and what’s best for me,” he said.

With Major League signing bonuses in a general range of more than $1 million for a first-round draft choice, Kyle’s choice may be a slam dunk. The family has reportedly had “quite a bit of contact” with the Twins dating back to last November.

However, given that Waldrop was one of five Minnesota picks among the top 39 overall Major League selections — also Nos. 20, 22, 35 and 39 — and that the Twins are a small market organization notorious for tight-fisted spending on talent, negotiations may be far from a slam dunk.

Steve Waldrop said that various scouts had indicated that Kyle was a “fifth to tenth round” projected pick at the start of the 2004 season, but that he slowly moved up to second round status and was climbing by FHS post-season tournament time.

If Waldrop inks a deal with Minnesota, “they could send me off to Rookie ball in the Gulf Coast League in a month or so,” he said.


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