Four years ago, Brandon Wood came out of Scottsdale Horizon High to become the 23rd pick in the 2003 Major League Baseball draft and signed a lucrative deal with the Anaheim Angels. On Thursday, Tim Alderson trumped him one.
The just-graduated right-handed pitcher from Horizon was selected by the San Francisco Giants with the 22nd overall pick on Thursday, the highest an Arizona high school baseball player had been taken since Phoenix Thunderbird’s Mike Jones went 12th overall to the Milwaukee Brewers in 2001.
Alderson went 12-0 with a 1.05 ERA, 111 strikeouts and four walks in leading the Huskies to their second state title in three years this season. He was the Tribune’s player of the year twice.
“It’s been crazy,” Alderson said. “This is the best day of my life so far. This is what I dreamed of.”
Alderson has a scholarship offer to Oregon State, but would have to turn down big money to go to college. Last year’s 22nd pick, Colton Willems, was given a $1.425 million signing bonus with his contract.
Alderson has remained noncommittal, but even Oregon State coach Pat Casey seemed to sense what is coming.
“I’m happy for the kid,” Casey said. “I’m not in the business of advising at all, but I’m sure he’s in the position where he’s got a real good plan. He’s gotten himself taken care of a little bit.”
Horizon coach Eric Kibler said that because Alderson is a power-throwing pitcher, it affects the thought-process.
“With a pitcher going that high, if you’re going to be offered that and you get hurt, while a position player can come back, a pitcher is a pitcher,” Kibler said. “When you’re a pitcher taken 22nd pick overall, it’s hard to turn that down.”
Critics have questioned if Alderson can successfully transition from exclusively pitching from the stretch to switching to a windup. However, the Giants brass brushed it off, and Alderson said he is confident in his ability to make the switch.
“I’ve definitely had a lot of people talk to me about it,” Alderson said. “I have absolutely no problem with the wind-up.”
If Alderson signs quickly, he would play minor league ball either here in Arizona or in Salem, Ore.
Alderson is the third Arizona high school player picked in the first round since 2000, joining Wood and Jones. He was the only Arizona prep player to be chosen on the first day, although only five of 50 rounds have been completed. The draft wraps up today.
Alderson has until Aug. 15 to sign with the Giants. If he doesn’t sign, he’ll play at Oregon State for three years before he’s eligible for the 2010 draft.
No. 1 overall pick: Devil Rays — David Price, LHP, Vanderbilt.
Sun Devils chosen: Eric Sogard, 2B, Padres (2nd round, 81st overall); Matt Spencer, OF, Phillies (3rd, 112th); Andrew Romine, SS, Angels (5th, 178th)
Local ties: Tim Alderson, RHP, Horizon, Giants (1st, 22nd); Eric Farris, 2B, Chandler Hamilton (Loyola Marymount), Brewers (4th, 131st); Brad Mills, LHP, Mesa Mountain View (Arizona), Blue Jays (4th, 145th)
D-Backs select ... Jarrod Parker, RHP, Bluffton (High School), Ind. (1st, ninth).