June 5, 2000
TEMPE, Ariz. - Six members of Arizona State's 2000 Pac-10 championship baseball team, as well as nine Sun Devil recruits, were selected Monday on day one of Major League Baseball's entry draft.
Ironically, eight signees in ASU's highly-touted recruiting class were drafted before the New York Mets picked outfielder Jeff Duncan in round seven (the 215th pick overall), giving the speedy Duncan the distinction of being the first current Sun Devil chosen in the 2000 draft. Senior slugger Mitch Jones, whose 27 home runs this past season broke Bob Horner's all-time ASU single-season record, was taken by the New York Yankees just three picks after Duncan (round 7, the 218th overall selection).
Leading the way among ASU recruits was right-handed pitcher Matt Harrington of Palmdale (CA.) High School, chosen by the Colorado Rockies with the seventh overall pick in round one. Harrington is considered to be the top high school pitching prospect in the nation.
Three other Sun Devil signees were taken in round two. Kenny Nelson, a right-handed pitcher and third baseman from Ft. Washington, Md., went to the Atlanta Braves with the 51st overall pick, while pitcher J.D. Durbin, from Scottsdale's Coronado High School, was drafted by the Minnesota Twins with pick #54. With the 56th overall selection, the Texas Rangers drafted Houston high school shortstop Jason Bourgeois.
The Los Angeles Dodgers made right-handed pitcher Jeff Tibbs, of Davis High School in Farmington, Utah, their third round pick (87th overall). An ASU recruit, Tibbs was labeled by "Baseball America" magazine as the top pro prospect in Utah.
In the fourth round, the Houston Astros used the 127th overall pick on Chicago-area third baseman Eric Keefner, who has signed a football letter-of-intent to attend ASU. A 6'3", 235-pounder, Keefner is projected as either a linebacker or a tight end in football.
With the first pick in the sixth round, the Florida Marlins selected hard-hitting outfielder Will Smith from Palo Verde H.S. in Tucson, another ASU recruit. In round seven, Sun Devil signee Jason Kaanoi, a right-handed pitcher from Kaneohe, HI., went to the Kansas City Royals.
After Duncan and Jones, the next ASU players to be drafted were pitchers Jason Fingers and Eric Doble, both of whom were taken in round 10. Fingers, who was the winning pitcher in Arizona State's 3-1 post-season victory over College World Series-bound Texas on May 27, was drafted by the Kansas City Royals (the 284th overall pick). Doble, the Sun Devils' bullpen ace with nine saves in 2000, went to the Boston Red Sox with pick #302. However, Doble has indicated that he is leaning toward returning to ASU for his senior season, in hopes of becoming a possible second or third-round selection in next year's draft.
Round 16 saw Devils' outfielder Phil Downing go the Montreal Expos with pick #465. Three selections later, the Detroit Tigers drafted ASU recruit Ryan Schroyer, a right-handed pitcher from Arizona 5-A champion Canyon del Oro High School in Tucson.
The last player with ASU ties to be drafted Monday was junior right-hander Luke Field, a Sun Devil reliever in 2000. Field was tabbed by the Cleveland Indians with the 486th overall pick.
The Major League entry draft continues through Wednesday.