Baseball | Washington Nationals select Manatee's Weston Davis in 11th round

twolfrum@bradenton.comJune 8, 2014 

Major League Baseball made Weston Davis wait an extra night before asking him to join its club.

But it didn't take long Saturday for the Washington Nationals to make the call for Manatee High's fireballing right-hander.

The Nationals took Davis with the 19th pick of the 11th round soon after the third and final day of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft began.

In a questionnaire for his Herald All-Area team selection, Davis wrote that he expected to be drafted during rounds 3-10 Friday night.

He just missed that prediction.

"It's exciting," Davis said Saturday. "I had no control over it. It's just a waiting game. ... It (Friday) was kind of a long day. We were hoping for Friday. You just take what you get."

Davis was one of four players with local ties drafted Saturday.

State College of Florida reliever Scott Williams went two picks after Davis to the Texas Rangers. IMG Academy outfielder Luke Bonfield was taken in the 21st round by the New York Mets, and IMG infielder Taylor Lane went to the Milwaukee Brewers in the 40th and last round.

Davis spent Saturday in Hardee County with his girlfriend at her mother's house. He didn't have access to a computer, so he had to wait for a call from his coach and an adviser.

Davis said he expected a contract offer from the Nationals on Saturday night and would weigh his options before deciding whether to sign. If he doesn't go pro, Davis plans to play for State College of Florida next season.

The Nationals' area scout visited Davis' home and saw

him play at several tournaments, he said. And Davis has a connection to Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond, a former Sarasota High star. Manatee's former head coach, Dwayne Strong, coached Desmond in high school, and Desmond visited the Hurricanes at Strong's The Sandlot@5 Tools Baseball facility.

"I met Ian Desmond, so I got to talk to him. I like Bryce Harper, and Steven Strasburg is one of my favorite pitchers," Davis said. "The Nationals are now my favorite team, and I thank them for drafting me."

The 6-foot-3, 185-pound Davis finished his senior season 6-3 with a 1.35 earned-run average for the Hurricanes. He struck out 56 batters and walked 16 in 52 innings.

His fastball has been clocked at 94 mph, and he throws a slider, curveball and change-up.

The Nationals drafted Davis four rounds ahead of Ryan Ripken, the son of Cal Ripken Jr.

Williams was a catcher for most of the season with SCF but was drafted as a pitcher because of his potential, most notably a fastball in the low to mid-90s and an 85 mph slider. He finished with an 0-1 record, a 1.80 earned-run average and two saves in 10 innings as SCF's closer. He struck out 14 and walked six.

"I texted with him today, and he was excited," SCF head coach Tim Hill II said of Williams.

According to Baseball America, Bonfield, who has committed to Arkansas, entered the draft as the top local prospect. He hit .379 with three home runs, 19 RBIs and 30 runs scored for IMG, which finished 16-14.

Lane, a Florida commit who hails from Virginia, hit .342 with 20 runs scored and 15 RBIs for the Ascenders.

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