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MLB draft: Aptos' Crocker is second Mariner taken in draft

Posted: Saturday, Jun 7th, 2008

Aptos High outfielder Bobby Crocker ws drafted Friday by the Oakland A's during the 38th round of the MLB First-Year Players Draft. Crocker, the 1,144th pick, plans to play over the summer for a team in San Luis Obispo. Depending on how he does there, he may be offered a professional contract.

Most youngsters growing up playing baseball on the Central Coast dream of one day playing for the San Francisco Giants or the Oakland A’s.

Not Bobby Crocker, though. He’s a Red Sox fan.

So that might take some of the shine off of the news that Crocker, an outfielder for Aptos High, was selected by the A’s Friday during the 38th round — the 1,144th pick — of the Major League Baseball First-Year Players Draft. Even still, Crocker was grateful to hear it.

“I’ve always kind of been a Boston fan,” Crocker said. “But I definitely appreciate being drafted by (the A’s). And, I mean, with any other team, too, I would have been really appreciative.”

The fact that he was drafted does not necessarily mean that Crocker will immediately be offered a contract by the team. Crocker said he was told that Oakland’s area scouts plan to keep an eye on him throughout the summer, while he plays with the San Luis Obispo Blues summer team. If they like what they see, they may offer a contract.

Teams have until Aug. 15 to reach an agreement with draftees. Otherwise, they must re-enter the draft again later on.

For Crocker, that would probably mean three years from now. The outfielder, who hit nine home runs in 31 games for the Mariners, already signed a scholarship to play at Cal Poly-SLO, a Division I school. Once players enter four-year schools, they cannot re-enter the draft until after their junior season.

“Bobby’s got a bright future ahead of him,” Aptos assistant coach Matt King said. “From a scouting standpoint, he’s a five-tool player — one of those Junior Griffey guys. There’s not many of those guys out there. He just needs to put (all his tools) together. If he does, he’s not a 38th-round pick. He’s a third-, or a second-round pick.”

While Crocker said he was excited to hear he’d been drafted, he also admitted that he’d hoped to be taken earlier on. Crocker said that he didn’t have the offensive season, statistically, he expected of himself — due in part to a slump during the middle part of the season.

“There’s always more work to do,” Crocker said. “With my hitting, I need to cut down on my strikeouts, and (work on) just seeing the ball. And there’s always more I can do with my bat path.”

Crocker finished the season with a .505 batting average, 43 runs scored, and 16 stolen bases. As a relief pitcher, he went 1-1 with a save. His nine home runs led the team, even though he primarily batted out of the leadoff spot. He was an all-First Team Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League selection his junior and senior seasons.

Crocker credited teammate Kevin Eichhorn — who was drafted Thursday by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the third round — for attracting so many scouts to Mariners games throughout the season.

“The whole year I’ve been lucky enough to have someone as good as Kevin and a good group of kids on our team,” he said. “That benefits me, where I can get looks when I usually wouldn’t.”

Crocker said he’s looking forward to getting down to San Luis Obispo and working on his game. He said he’d take a wait-and-see approach to worrying about any potential professional contract.

Aptos High went 26-5 this season, 11-1 in the SCCAL, advancing to the semifinals of the Central Coast Section playoffs. Crocker will be joined at Cal Poly by teammate Kyle Anderson, a left-handed pitcher.

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