Looks like there's a magnetism involving Jake Barrett and the number 99.
The recent Mesa Desert Ridge graduate has owned that uniform number for the past three seasons of high school baseball, and it appears to suit him swimmingly as this year's 99th overall pick (third round) to Toronto in Tuesday's Major League Baseball first-year draft.
As expected, Scottsdale Horizon catcher Tommy Joseph was the first East Valley high school player taken when San Francisco grabbed him in the second round (No. 55), and Barrett was next.
They were the only two prep players from the East Valley selected during the first day, but several more are expected to come off the board Wednesday (rounds four through 30) and Thursday (rounds 31 through 50). The draft can be followed on mlb.com.
Barrett was named the Tribune Player of the Year after leading the Jaguars to their first 5A Division II state championship by beating Horizon. Barrett struck out 98 batters in 62 innings this season with a 9-3 record and 1.90 earned-run average.
The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Barrett also hit .510 with 20 home runs and 66 RBIs.
Barrett's power hitting combined with his 90 mph fastball and sharp curve drew at least a half-dozen scouts to nearly every one of his starts. He committed to Arizona State, but will forego college if he signs with the Blue Jays.
If Barrett chooses ASU, there's a chance he'll continue to face former Pima Region rival Joseph, who's committed to Arizona.
Joseph hit .442 with 15 home runs and 36 RBIs. He picked off 18 runners behind the plate and threw out 8 of 10 base stealers as the Huskies reached the 5A Division II state championship game.
With hitting as his strength, Joseph was projected between a very late first-round selection and mid-second-round pick. Among the dozen teams he visited, Tampa was considered to be the likely first-round destination, since he worked out for the catcher-starved Rays earlier this month.
Teams have until Aug. 17 to sign their draft picks. If they don't, they receive a compensation pick next year, while the player can choose to attend college for a minimum of three years, play in independent leagues or otherwise wait until next year's draft.