High School Sports

MLB draft | Colorado Rockies select Manatee High's Correlle Prime in 12th round

BRADENTON -- Correlle Prime wasn't about to admit defeat Tuesday evening.

But as one hour bled into another, the recent Manatee High graduate felt worse and worse about his chances of getting picked during baseball's amateur draft.

Then the phone rang. It was the Colorado Rockies.

Two minutes later, the Rockies made Prime the draft's 378th overall selection in the 12th round.

"I was actually in bed laying down, hoping somebody would call me," he said. "I didn't know what to say."

Prime, along with fellow Hurricanes Chase Sandberg and twins Trevor and Tyler Beeman, are signed to play at State College of Florida next season. On Tuesday, Prime said he was unsure if he would sign with Colorado or stay in town and play with the Manatees.

"I'm going to talk with my mom," he said, "and make sure this is what I want to do."

Prime was one of six players with local ties selected during the second day of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

The highest pick was former State College of Florida pitcher Nick Goody, who went to the New York Yankees in the sixth round with the 217th overall pick.

Goody's absence apparently made the Yankees' hearts grow fonder. The

Bronx Bombers drafted Goody, now the closer for the super regional-bound LSU Tigers, in the 22nd round of the 2011 draft, but he opted to honor his commitment to LSU.

As LSU's closer, Goody owns a 2.51 earned-run average with 11 saves in 33 games. He has struck out 45 batters in 32 1/3 innings.

Also Tuesday, IMG Academies outfielder Alfredo Escalera-Maldonado was an eighth-round selection (253 overall) of the Kansas City Royals. Escalera-Maldonado, who turned 17 in February, has spent four years at IMG after moving here from Puerto Rico.

Escalera-Maldonado's teammate, left-handed pitcher Max Foody, was a 12th-round selection (390) of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Cardinal Mooney first baseman/pitcher Sean McAdams was selected in the 14th round (432) by the Baltimore Orioles, who hold spring training and their development programs in Sarasota.

Also at IMG, alumnus L.J. Mazzilli, the son of former major-leaguer Lee Mazzilli, was drafted in the ninth round (280th overall) by the Minnesota Twins. Mazzilli, an infielder, spent one year at IMG before heading on to the University of Connecticut for three years.

Prime was a three-year starter at Manatee, splitting his time pitching and playing first base while typically serving as the team's clean-up hitter.

If he signs with the Rockies, however, Prime's role will be more defined.

"My area scout told me, 'You can put your pitching glove away -- we drafted you as a first baseman,"' said Prime, who won 10 games and slugged two home runs this past spring for Manatee. "I'm fine with it; whatever gets me on the field. They're pro guys, and they can see the future much better than I can.

"If they want me to pitch, I'll do that; if they want me to do play first base, I'll do that; if they want me to play the outfield, I'll do that."

That approach comes as no surprise to Manatee coach Dwayne Strong.

"He's one of the hardest workers you'll ever see," he said. "He's got the tools, and I always tease him that someone is going to reap the benefits of all the hard work he's put in over the last few years. The Rockies got themselves a pretty good player."

Prime believes his future turned during the FACA North-South All-Star Games in Sebring after the prep season ended. Prime doubled and drew a pair of walks in the first game and added another hit in the second game while a number of pro scouts watched from the stands.

"I've talked to a bunch of scouts and hit well in batting practice before, but I never really had a game where it all clicked," Prime said. "To do it in front of those guys, that was a tremendous turning point for me."

And it's the reason Tuesday night brought a pleasantly surprising phone call.

"I watched the draft (Monday) just to see where some of my friends got drafted. (Tuesday), I had a little hope," Prime said. "But the day got long and I grew tired, and I thought the 10th round was the last one. Then they said, 'We're going to rounds 11 through 15.'

"And I was just laying down and the phone rang. It was crazy."