If the Seattle Mariners made the right choice, there’s going to be another Jose Cruz in the majors soon.
The Mariners, picking third in Thursday’s baseball draft, selected Jose Cruz Jr., a 21-year-old center fielder from Rice and son of former majorleague star Jose Cruz.
Cruz Jr., a switch-hitter, did not miss an inning in his three seasons at Rice. He holds 15 school records, including career marks for average (.375), home runs (43), runs batted in (203) and slugging percentage (.674).
In 1995, he hit .377 (84 for 223) with 16 homers and 76 RBIs in 223 at-bats for the Owls.
“Jose will be a premium offensive player,” said Roger Jongewaard, Seattle vice president of scouting and player development.
California looked to the future and took outfielder Darin Erstad with the first pick.
San Diego, meanwhile, used the second pick on Ben Davis, an 18-yearold catcher at Malvern Prep outside Philadelphia. He quickly agreed to terms with the Padres on a deal that includes a $1.3 million signing bonus.
Erstad, the punter for national champion Nebraska, may not make it to the majors for several years.
A 20-year-old outfielder, he hit .410 in 57 games for the Cornhuskers this year with 20 doubles, 19 homers, 76 RBIs and 11 steals.
Erstad, drafted by the New York Mets three years ago after he finished high school, has two years of football eligibility remaining, but probably won’t kick again. California had been expected to choose him.
After Seattle chose Cruz, the Chicago Cubs took right-hander Kerry Wood from Grand Prairie High School in Texas. He’s 12-0 with a 0.77 ERA and 139 strikeouts in 72 1/2 innings.
Kansas City, parent club to the Spokane Indians, selected 19th and chose outfielder Juan LeBron of Arroyo, Puerto Rico.
A total of 507 players were taken through 18 rounds Thursday.
Teams draft through Saturday.
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