J.D. Davis expected a phone call from a major-league team Friday morning, notifying him he had been drafted. He just didn’t expect the source.
The Cal State Fullerton slugger and 2011 Bee Player of the Year from Elk Grove High School was taken with the first pick of the third round, prompting mixed emotions from his family. Davis, his parents, Greg and MaryJo, and kid brother Ben sat stunned for a moment when the news came across their screen that he was selected by the Houston Astros, and then all jumped for joy.
“It’s pretty crazy, but fun,” Davis said later. “We didn’t expect the Astros at all. We got calls from other teams, but the Astros weren’t on the radar, and all of a sudden, I’m picked by them. I’m pretty pumped.”
Also Friday, Rocklin High pitcher Logan Webb was selected by the Giants in the fourth round, Sacramento State first baseman and former Jesuit standout Rhys Hoskins was picked by the Phillies in the fifth round and UC Davis senior infielder Steven Patterson went to the Cleveland Indians in the 10th round.
A fifth-round pick by Tampa Bay out of high school, Davis turned down the temptation of a signing bonus to play college baseball in the Big West, one of the top conferences in the country. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Davis drove in more than 100 runs in three seasons with the Titans. He was regarded by scouts as one of the top two-way talents in college, a powerful right-handed hitter who also earned saves as a reliever with a fastball in the 92- to 94-mph range, and a slider in the low 80s.
Davis, a projected third baseman, said the college experience paid off.
“I don’t regret going to Fullerton one bit,” Davis said. “I made the right decision to go there. Like every high school kid, I thought I was ready to take on the world. Now I’m two semesters away from getting my degree. I was able to compete in a top-notch conference in front of big crowds and face great talent. I was able to grow up, be on my own, pay my bills, become an adult. It all really helped me mature.”
Webb was delighted the Giants took him, calling it “a dream.” He visited AT&T Park last week for workouts and was impressed by the facility and club executives. Though he recently signed a letter of intent with Cal Poly, Webb is excited to see if he can sign with the Giants. His draft stock soared this spring as he touched the mid-90s on radar guns.
Hoskins, the Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year, is also known for his power at 6-4, 225 pounds. And, he is an example of development – Hoskins wasn’t drafted out of high school.
“It’s pretty surreal what’s happened, and I’m really proud,” Hoskins said. “I played other sports in high school, and I loved that experience. It helps you develop other skills. Then, I got to really learn the game in depth at Sac State and it helped me.”
Hoskins said he thought of his mother, Cathy Reynolds, who died just before his 16th birthday, saying, “Oh, absolutely, she’s there.”
Sac State coach Reggie Christiansen said he was most impressed with Hoskins’ character.
“He gave some of his scholarship money back so we could go sign another pitcher last year – his idea,” Christiansen said. “The pitcher we signed was Alex Palsha. Rhys is unreal, off the charts.”
Patterson, who played two years at UC Davis, became the first Aggie to be drafted since 2012 after hitting .326 this season. He played two seasons at Delta College in Stockton, where he also attended high school at St. Mary’s.
Davis’ selection made for another exciting day in Elk Grove. Thursday night, Derek Hill went in the first round to Detroit.
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter @SacBee_JoeD.