Lakewood Ranch Herald

MLB Draft | Twins select Lakewood Ranch's Zach Larson; two ex-SCF players drafted

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Zach Larson called it a long three days.

But everything ended well for the Lakewood Ranch outfielder Wednesday when he was selected by the Minnesota Twins in the 20th round (610th overall pick) of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

"I am very excited. It has always been my dream to play Major League Baseball, and the day is finally here," Larson said. "I was hearing that I was going to be selected in the early rounds, but you never know in the draft. You never know who is interested. I wasn't disappointed when my name wasn't called earlier because I knew there were a lot of rounds left."

Larson was one of three players with local ties to be chosen on the final day of the 40-round draft.

Austin Chubb, a former All-Suncoast Conference selection at State College of Florida, was selected by the Washington Nationals in the 21st round (654th pick overall). Chubb, a catcher, is a senior at Florida Southern. He hit .291 with eight home runs and 33 RBIs and led the team with 17 doubles, starting all but one game for the Mocs, who finished 26-18.

In the 27th round, the Baltimore Orioles took Anthony Caronia, a junior shortstop from the University of Tampa who spent his 2011 season with State College of Florida. Caronia, who hit .295 with 19 RBIs and led the team the Spartans (38-10) with 10 stolen bases, went with the 822nd overall pick.

Larson was a little surprised he was chosen by the Twins, though they called him early Wednesday and scout Billy Corrigan spoke to him at the Florida Athletic Coaches Association All-Star game last week in Sebring.

"The Rays, Phillies and Oakland showed the most interest. I didn't talk to Minnesota a lot during the season," Larson said. "Their scout (Corrigan) called after they picked me, and I told him, 'All right, let's get my baseball career started.' I like Billy and I like Minnesota. They are a great franchise, and I am happy with them."

Larson has signed with SCF and said he is not sure which route he will take. He can play next season with SCF and put his name back in the draft next year.

"I've got to sit down and talk with my family," the 18-year-old said. "The Twins said they would call me in a few days and we will see. My family has been helping me out a lot on this. I don't know (about the money). Whatever makes me or my family happy, that is what we are going to do."

The right-handed hitting and throwing center fielder led the state final four Mustangs in numerous categories over his 31-game season, including batting average (.426), on-base percentage (.516), RBIs (32), hits (43) and runs scored (41). He showed great range in the outfield and made only one error all season.

"We are excited. Zach has a huge upside, and I thought he would be drafted earlier," Lakewood Ranch head coach Mike Mullen said. "With the draft you never know. A lot of it is whether a scout thinks they can sign a kid. I feel confident Zach is a top 10-round draft pick just based on his talent and upside. You look at this size (6-foot-2, 185 pounds) and the size of his dad."

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