MLB Draft | Cord Sandberg sees dreams fulfilled with Philadelphia Phillies' pick

3rd-round pick Sandberg agrees to deal with Philadelphia

jlembo@bradenton.comJune 8, 2013 

BRADENTON -- Cord Sandberg didn't get a whole lot of sleep Thursday night.

The first day of the amateur baseball draft had come and gone, and Sandberg, ranked as the 56th-best prospect by MLB.com, wasn't among the first 73 picks spread out over two rounds.

Friday afternoon, however, Sandberg, a recent Manatee High alum, was feeling a bit better.

And a bit relieved. And very elated.

The Philadelphia Phillies selected Sandberg in the third round with the draft's 89th overall pick, and it appears he will forgo college -- he had signed to play football at Mississippi State -- to take a stab at professional baseball.

Sandberg said he and the Phillies agreed on a signing bonus of $775,000 plus the equivalent of four years of school at Mississippi State. He has until next month to sign.

"My mindset is I'm going to try to become a major-leaguer," Sandberg said moments after his name was read on MLB.com, where the draft was being streamed live. "I'm just going to go out there and play some baseball."

Sandberg is Manatee's second draft pick in as many seasons after the Colorado Rockies took Correlle Prime in the 12th round last season. Prime signed with the Rockies, choosing pro baseball over a scholarship from State College of Florida.

He is the area's highest pick since Palmetto's Granden Goetzman was taken by the Tampa Bay Rays in the second round and is Manatee's highest pick since Pat Cline was a sixth-round choice of the Chicago Cubs in 1993.

The only Hurricane to go in the first round was outfielder Brian McRae, selected by the Kansas City Royals with the 17th overall pick in 1985.

The only other player with area ties drafted Friday was L.J. Mazzilli, an IMG Academy alum who is the son of former major-leaguer Lee Mazzilli. The younger Mazzilli went to the New York Mets, one of his father's former teams, with the 116th pick, the 10th selection of the fourth round.

Mazzilli helped lead the Huskies to the Big East tournament title and an automat

ic berth to the NCAA tournament. He hit a team-best .354 with six home runs, 51 RBIs and 29 stolen bases.

The draft continues with rounds 11-40 beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Sandberg said the Phillies called him Thursday night midway through the second round and said they were interested in him as well as two or three other players.

"They picked somebody else," said Sandberg, a three-year starter at quarterback for the Hurricanes who played center field with the school's baseball team. "Maybe they didn't want to pull the trigger because of football."

That all changed Friday. And Sandberg is headed to a team whose run of success from 2007-12 -- five straight division titles, two pennants and a World Series championship -- was crafted primarily by homegrown guys such as Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and Cole Hamels.

"It's a really good organization," said Sandberg, who worked out for the Phillies at their minor-league complex and spring training headquarters in Clearwater, which is also home to the franchise's high Single-A affiliate. "I feel good about going there.

"I'm going to do everything I can to make it as a major-leaguer, and try and prove all the people wrong who didn't pick me."

After a rough first day of the draft, Sandberg was ready to look forward.

"Going into (Thursday) night, I knew there was a possibility I could go higher. But I also believe teams make decisions," he said. "It was definitely tough. I didn't get too much sleep (Thursday). But it came. I got drafted. It feels good to have a home."

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