Waiakea second baseman Kean Wong and Mid-Pacific shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa might have grown up 200 miles apart, but merely two picks separated the future professionals in this afternoon’s 2013 Major League Baseball first-year player draft.
Wong, the brother of Cardinals uber-prospect Kolten, was taken by the Tampa Bay Rays with the 128th overall pick in the 4th round. MLB.com’s scouting report states: “While comparisons between the brothers are inevitable, the biggest difference might be that Kean is not a lock to stay at second base. Third base may be his best position and he played catcher this spring as well. Wong has a short, compact stroke and a good approach at the plate. Listed at 5-foot-11, 190 pounds, he has good power for his size, but is more of a line-drive hitter. He is a heady player and has a good feel for the game on offense and defense. Wong is committed to Hawaii, where his older brother was an All-American.”
Wong confirmed to KHON2 Sports Director Rob DeMello this afternoon that he intends to sign with the Rays.
Minutes later, Mid-Pacific state champion shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa was taken by the Texas Rangers with the 130th overall pick in the 4th, making him the highest drafted player straight out of Mid-Pacific history in program history. The guava-jelly smooth SS flew under the radar of many draft projections, as even MLB.com didn’t have a scouting report for Isiah. KHON2 was told by an anonymous talent scout that Kiner-Falefa is already a “plus” defender and runner, with plenty of upside as a hitter.
Kiner-Falefa is committed to San Jose State University, but said this afternoon that he intends to sign with the Rangers.
As for the rest of the University of Hawai’i top-5 ranked recruiting class, Marina (CA) first baseman Jake Bauers was taken in the 7th round (208th overall) by the San Diego Padres. Bauers told KHON2 this afternoon that he hadn’t yet reached an agreement with San Diego.
Fellow Rainbow Warrior signees ‘Iolana Akau (Saint Louis), Marcus Doi (Mid-Pacific), and verbal commit David Denson (South Hills, CA) were threats to get drafted on day two of the three day event, but didn’t hear their names called. Akau told KHON2 this morning that it looks like he is going to college. Doi and Denson both told us that they will assess their situations after tomorrow’s conclusion of the draft.
Yesterday, UH signee Blake Taylor was taken in the 2nd round with the 51st overall pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He told the Orange County Register that he is “pretty sure he will sign with the Pirates.”
Draft picks have until July 12th to sign with a Major League team.
After today’s picks spanning the 3rd through 10th rounds, tomorrow’s conclusion will feature rounds 11-40, and is scheduled to start at 7:00 am HST.
For a link to a live draft tracker, click here.