They won’t find out immediately, but several amateur baseball players are fated to spend a summer in Spokane after the events of the next three days.
Major-league baseball’s amateur draft begins today in New York and lasts through Saturday. The players who will stock the Spokane Indians and other short-season Class A teams come mainly from the three-day draft. Typically, the Indians and the other seven Northwest League teams lack players from the first three rounds or so. Those blue-chippers often end up in long-season A or Class AA.
Yet success at the NWL level doesn’t rely on top-10 draft selections. Middle-round selections who have extra college experience can be perfect NWL prospects.
The Indians have added interest in this draft because it will be their first as a farm team of the Kansas City Royals. Spokane signed a four-year agreement with Kansas City after the end of last season, its 12th with the San Diego Padres.
Spokane had some glorious seasons with the Padres, including league championships from 1987-90, but the past four years have seen lower-division finishes.
The Royals were selected baseball’s organization of the year last season because of the success of their minor-league system.
Kansas City selects 19th, 49th and 78th to begin this draft.
“This should be an outstanding draft,” said Royals director of scouting Art Stewart. “This should be one of the strongest drafts in memory.”
The new Indians begin arriving in town June 10, a few days after manager Al Pedrique. The team begins a four-day minicamp June 11 in preparation for the season opener, June 15 at Yakima.
Notes: Spokane’s home opener is June 17 at 7:05 p.m., also against Yakima. The following day, Spokane has a rare 3:05 p.m. start to celebrate “Kids’ Opening Day.”
Individual tickets to Indians games go on sale today. Call 535-2922 for prices and information.