6/02/2007 – Daily News Record
OCU Spain Awaits MLB Draft This Week Written By Matthew Stoss Daily News Record STAUNTON, Va. – Bob Wease is used to it. The Harrisonburg Turks’ manager said it happens every year, and it’s just something he and the 10 other Valley Baseball League clubs have come to accept. It is the Major League Baseball amateur draft. Every season, it plucks the best third-year players from the VBL in the first week, forcing teams to run up telephone bills searching for substitute talent. "It happens to everyone in the Valley," Wease said in the Moxie Stadium press box just before the Turks’ season opener with Staunton was postponed until June 11 because of rain. "The draft is a week away and you’ll lose five to six players. You just get on the phone and regroup." And while Wease has adjusted nicely, Bobby Spain hasn’t found his manager’s comfort level. Spain, Harrisonburg’s starting shortstop and one of the team’s four returning players, is among the Valley’s draft prospects. "I’m definitely nervous about it," said Spain, who has gotten advice from other players about how to handle draft day this Thursday. "[They said] ‘go do something else because you’ll go crazy looking at every pick.’" And that could take a while. The draft lasts more than 50 rounds. MLB carries the draft on its Web site and former potential draftees advised Spain to do something relaxing instead of staring at a computer screen hoping to see his name attached to an organization. As to which organization is most interested, Spain couldn’t say. "It’s up in the air," he said. "There are five to six teams, but no one really slotted me anywhere." In 2006, Spain led the Turks with a .348 batting average, amassing three home runs and 24 RBIs. As a junior this season at Oklahoma City University, he batted .414 with 20 home runs and a team-high 76 RBIs in 60 games. Wease said what scouts like most about the 6-foot-4, 215-pounder is his size and his left-handed power bat at shortstop. However, Spain didn’t rule out a position change. Some scouts have mentioned third base or possibly the outfield. Assuming he is drafted, Spain said his decision to leave school will depend on where he goes in the draft and how much money he is offered. "There’s not really a cut-off point," he said. "You could go in the 30s or 40s, but they could offer higher-round money… It’s definitely a situational thing." Friday’s game was called in the top of the second inning due to rain and lightning after a 30-minute delay. The decision erased a 5-0 lead for the Braves and the two teams will start over on June 11.