Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

East County baseball players fulfill their dreams

Five former East County baseball players were selected during Major League Baseball’s First-Year Player Draft June 8 through June 10.

  • By
  • | 6:00 a.m. June 17, 2015
Former Braden River High pitcher Jordan Guerrero will continue his career with the San Diego Padres.
Former Braden River High pitcher Jordan Guerrero will continue his career with the San Diego Padres.
  • East County
  • Sports
  • Share

EAST COUNTY — Growing up, Jordan Guerrero had the same dream as many boys: He wanted to be a professional baseball player. 

But, like most young men, he was often told to choose a new career path. Yes, he was a good player, but the odds of making it to the majors are slim. He should be realistic. He should try for something else. 

So whenever it came time to discuss the future, Guerrero always had to come up with a more realistic alternative. 

Well, at least until now. 

Guerrero was selected by the San Diego Padres in the sixth round with the 177th overall pick of the 2015 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, which began June 8 and concluded June 10. 

“It means the world to me,” Guerrero says. “I’m excited because I get to see a whole other part of the country, and I’m looking forward to meeting new people and learning stuff about pitching that I’ve never been taught before.” 

After a disappointing senior season on the mound at Braden River, during which he went 1-3 with two saves and a 6.42 ERA with 24 strikeouts in 24 innings, Guerrero bounced back during his freshman season at Polk State College, in Winter Haven. 

In 20 games, including 19 relief appearances, Guerrero went 0-1 with a 1.59 ERA while striking out 28 in 22 2/3 innings. 

“My (experience) at Braden River helped me prepare for the next level because I had bad outings all of the time my senior year,” Guerrero says. “It helped me to realize that I have to work harder to have better outings.” 

Guerrero officially signed with the Padres June 10 and flew out to join the team last weekend. According to MLB, Guerrero's pick comes with an estimated value of $271,300, although terms of his contract may differ.

Seth McGarry, a 2012 graduate of Lakewood Ranch, was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Seth McGarry, a 2012 graduate of Lakewood Ranch, was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Seth McGarry, pitcher, Lakewood Ranch 

After spending the last three years on the other coast, Seth McGarry is getting ready to begin the next phase of his baseball career at home. 

McGarry, who helped Lakewood Ranch into the Class 6A State Semifinals in 2012, was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the eighth round of Major League Baseball’s First-Year Player Draft. 

McGarry watched most of the draft and had an idea of where he might land, but it wasn’t until his name was finally called that the 6-foot, 1-inch, 180-pound right-hander could breathe a sigh of relief. 

“It’s had its up and downs,” McGarry says. “The whole process has been pretty stressful, but it’s been pretty surreal at the same time. All of my hard work up to this point has paid off, but I still have just as much work to do to get to where I want to go.” 

During his senior season at Lakewood, McGarry spent much of the season serving as the Mustangs designated hitter after suffering a tender elbow. McGarry set the school record for hits with 45 while batting .437 with a .602 slugging percentage. 

McGarry returned to the mound for Lakewood’s magical postseason run, earning a pair of wins, one of which was a complete game, and a save while posting a .72 ERA with 25 strikeouts in 19 innings. 

McGarry, who also was named the East County Observer’s Male Athlete of the Year in 2012, went on to play for Florida Atlantic University, where he made three starts as a freshman before switching primarily to the bullpen his sophomore and junior seasons. 

In 2015, McGarry led the Owls bullpen with a 2.25 ERA in 40 innings — the seventh-best single-season ERA in school history. He also won four games and earned five saves in 21 appearances. 

During his three-year career, McGarry posted a 6-2 record with five saves in 58 1/3 innings, fanning 56 and holding opponents to a .243 batting average. 

McGarry officially signed with Pittsburgh June 12 and was scheduled to report June 15 to Pirate City in Bradenton, where he’ll join the Gulf Coast League Pirates. McGarry will initially join the Pirates starting rotation to stretch out his pitch count and continue to improve the consistency of his fastball. 

According to MLB, McGarry signed for $150,000. His estimated pick value was $168,800.

"They want me to try and start again,” McGarry says. “If all goes well, I’ll continue to start, and if it’s not in the cards then I’ll probably go back to the bullpen. I don’t really have a huge preference. Just the opportunity to pitch is a huge opportunity for me." 

Former Braden River High center fielder Myles Straw signed with the Houston Astros.
Former Braden River High center fielder Myles Straw signed with the Houston Astros.
Myles Straw, center fielder, Braden River

Rather than spend the third and final day of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft nervously waiting for his name to be called, Myles Straw decided to spend the day in the batting cage. 

While working on his swing, one of Straw’s St. Johns River State College teammates called to congratulate him. That’s when Straw learned he had been drafted by the Houston Astros in the 12th round. 

“It was nerve-wracking,” Straw says. “It’s been my lifelong dream growing up. It’s all I’ve thought about, and sure enough, it ended up working out.” 

During his sophomore year at St. Johns River State College, Straw appeared in 56 games, posting a team-leading .413 batting average. He also led the team in hits with 85 and tied for the team lead with 59 runs scored. 

Houston has been watching Straw for the last year. Following his freshman season, Straw was invited to compete in the National Junior College Athletic Association All-Star Game. Straw played well and it was there that he met Astros scout John Martin. 

Martin stuck with Straw throughout this past season, attending the majority of his games and talking with him at length about the draft. 

Straw, who had been committed to South Alabama, officially signed with the Astros June 11. Impressed by his speed, Straw says the Astros plan to begin working on bunting with him when he first arrives. 

Straw will begin playing for the Greeneville Astros, a minor league baseball team in the Appalachian League, in Greeneville, Tenn. He signed for $100,000.

“I just want to get out there,” Straw says. “It’s a whole different level of baseball. I’m just really looking forward to just the experience of being away from home and competing with other people.” 

Brad Zunica, first baseman, Lakewood Ranch 

Former Lakewood Ranch High first baseman and pitcher Brad Zunica was selected by the San Diego Padres in the 15th round. 

Zunica opted to skip his senior year at Lakewood and enroll at the University of Miami a year early to play baseball. He appeared in 23 games, including seven starts, and batted .175 with two doubles and six RBIs. 

Following his freshman season at Miami, Zunica decided to transfer to the State College of Florida in hopes of earning more playing time. In one season with SCF, Zunica posted a .311 batting average and a .597 slugging percentage in 196 at-bats. He finished the season with 61 hits, 54 RBIs and 13 home runs. 

ODA's Desmond Lindsay is still deciding whether or not to sign with the Mets or play for the University of North Carolina.
ODA's Desmond Lindsay is still deciding whether or not to sign with the Mets or play for the University of North Carolina.
Desmond Lindsay, first baseman, The Out-of-Door Academy

The Out-of-Door Academy senior corner infielder Desmond Lindsay was selected by the New York Mets with the 53rd pick in Major League Baseball’s First Year Player Draft. 

Lindsay, the lone East County player selected on the first day of the draft, played in just seven games this season as a result of a hamstring injury, but he was still named one of the top 10 high school corner infielders in this year’s draft, according to MaxPreps. 

Last summer, Lindsay joined the EvoShield Canes where he helped lead the Canes to a 12-0 record in the 17U Perfect Game WWBA National Championship. He was named the tournament’s MVP after going 12-for-31 (.387) with three home runs, a triple, two doubles, 10 RBIs and nine runs scored. Lindsay went on to help the Canes finish second at the 17U Perfect Game World Series where he was once again named to the All-Tournament Team. 

The right-hander is committed to attend the University of North Carolina and is still deciding whether or not he will sign with the Mets or play for the Tar Heels. 

His pick value is an estimated $,142,700.

Contact Jen Blanco at [email protected]


Latest News