Drafted and determined
USF baseball third baseman Jeff Baisley wasn’t worried Tuesday night. He wasn’t pacing, he wasn’t biting his nails, and, even in the humid heat, he didn’t break a sweat. So when he was drafted 371st overall in the Major League Amateur Draft at approximately 6:20, he was, if anything, let down by the late moves by the Oakland Athletics.
“I was hoping to get drafted in the top 10 rounds, but it just didn’t work out that way,” said Baisley, who led all Division I schools in doubles with 26. “But I was never really worried. I had gotten a lot of phone calls before the draft, and I had a workout with the Devil Rays and with the Yankees right before the draft.”
But Baisley will get to see a familiar face once he heads out west. In the 2004 Draft, former Bulls shortstop Myron Leslie was picked in the eighth round and is currently on the Kane County Cougars in Illinois — one of the single-A affiliates of the A’s — and is batting .309 through 54 games.
Baisley has been down the draft street before when, in 1998, his older brother Brad — a 6-foot-10 right-handed pitcher from Land O’ Lakes High — was picked 44th overall in the second round by the Philadelphia Phillies.
Between Brad and Leslie, Baisley is receiving remarkable insight into the intricacies of the bush leagues.
“Well, Brad’s told me a lot,” Baisley said. “He always has, but I’ve been talking to Myron a lot and asking a lot of questions like, ‘What kind of things am I going to do?’ and ‘What do I need to bring?’
“I just wanted to know what to expect out there. I’ve never been (to Oakland), so I’m excited.”
Just as Baisley lost no sleep Monday night, neither did his coach, Eddie Cardieri.
“I had no doubts,” said Cardieri, whose 2005 team finished eighth in its final year in C-USA. “I knew he was going to get drafted, but I thought he would’ve been drafted higher than he was. He has a shot (at playing in the minors) for sure.”
The 6-foot-3, 22-year-old Land O’ Lakes native improved his draft standing after leading the Bulls in most offensive categories, including batting average (.356), doubles (26), RBI (71), hits (89) and runs (53).
“He had a great senior year, you know,” said Cardieri, who had a record of 33-31 this season, and has 708 career wins as head coach. “He’ll have a good shot at being a major leaguer. That’s why he got picked. I just thought it should have been sooner.”
Added Baisley, “Since I didn’t have a very good junior year, I knew I needed to have a better senior year. I knew I had to go out there and prove to them I was a good baseball player, and I think I did.”
Only 18 other Bulls players have been drafted higher than Baisley, while Scott Hemond is the highest player from USF when he was picked 14th overall, also by Oakland, in 1986, while in 1997, Jason Dellaero was picked 15th overall by the Chicago White Sox.
USF football recruit RJ Anderson was also drafted on Tuesday in the ninth round with the 279th overall pick by the Texas Rangers. The Armwood standout cornerback was part of the amazing back-to-back Class 4A State Champion teams, and the 5-foot-11 Tampa native runs a 6.1-second 60-yard dash. He must now decide on whether to come to USF to play both football and baseball or sign with the Rangers, who have reported offering a $150,000 to $250,000 signing bonus. Anderson led Armwood’s baseball team in batting with a .384 and had seven home runs and 32 RBI. – Mike Camunas