State College of Florida's Scott Williams never really wanted to pitch.
But when the redshirt freshman catcher hears his name called this week in the Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft, it likely won't be because of his work behind the plate.
Williams, who made just 11 appearances on the mound in relief for the Manatees this season, boasts a fastball in the low to mid-90s and a slider that peaks at 85 mph.
"That has scouts intrigued," said Tim Hill II, SCF's head coach.
Williams is one of four local players listed among
Baseball America's top 500 draft prospects. He is ranked 294th -- as a right-handed pitcher.
The 40-round draft begins with rounds 1-2 at 7 p.m. Thursday. Rounds 3-10 will begin at 1 p.m. Friday. Rounds 11-40 will follow at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Williams transferred to SCF from the University of Virginia, where he showed an outstanding arm but was stuck behind an established catcher. The Manatees needed his bat in the lineup, so they resisted the impulse to make him a starting pitcher, Hill said. Besides, he preferred to catch.
"We brought him along slowly," Hill said. "He had never pitched, and he wanted to catch. At first, he didn't want to buy into it, but as he saw the attention he was getting, he saw his future is on the mound."
Williams 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.
Southeast High product Michael Suchy, a junior outfielder at Florida Gulf Coast, is ranked 217th by Baseball America. The first-team All-Atlantic Sun pick hit .318 with eight home runs and 49 RBIs this season.
The area's top prospect is IMG Academy's Luke Bonfield, a corner outfielder from New Jersey who has committed to Arkansas. Bonfield, ranked 187th by Baseball America, hit .379 with three home runs, 19 RBIs and 30 runs scored for IMG, which finished 16-14.
IMG also expects infielder Taylor Lane, a Florida commit who hails from Virginia, to be drafted in the later rounds. Lane hit .342 with 20 runs scored and 15 RBIs for the Ascenders.
"They have both garnered a lot of interest," said Dan Simonds, IMG's director of baseball. "Bonfield's projected to go a little higher. He has a huge upside. A lot of people have been here to see him. He's a tremendous hitter. That's definitely his major tool right now. He has become a better outfielder. His arm has improved. There's a lot more in the tank."
The top prep prospect is Manatee High right-hander Weston Davis, who is ranked 405th by Baseball America.
Other SCF players who may be drafted include SS/OF Cory Reid (committed to Stetson), P Ryan Valdes (USF) and P Dustin Hagy. Kevin Bradley (Oklahoma State), a shortstop who was injured during the fall and didn't play for SCF in the spring, is expected to be drafted. Former Manatees Conner Hale (LSU) and Casey Mulholland (USF) could hear their names called as well.
Hill said a 2015 SCF signee, outfielder Anfernee Seymour, could be drafted because of his tremendous speed.