Two San Diego area high school baseball players could be on their way to the big leagues Thursday after being selected in the top six picks in Major League Baseball’s annual draft, and a third with La Jolla connections was chosen later in the first round.
A pitcher from Cathedral High School, Brady Aiken, was selected as the first pick overall by the Houston Astros, according to MLB.com.
The left hander also was a key part of Team USA’s gold medal winning effort last year in Taiwan, in which he clinched the championship game in the 18-and-under World Cup vs. Japan.
Cathedral Catholic High already was celebrating Aiken’s accomplishment Thursday, posting on their web site:
“The Dons Community is so proud of recent grad, Brady Aiken being selected #1 in the MLB draft by the Houston Astros. Aiken exemplifies what it means to be a Don.”
Aiken will turn 18 in August. He may attend UCLA, depending on whether he signs with the Astros.
The Seattle Mariners selected Alex Jackson, 18, from Rancho Bernardo High, as MLB’s sixth pick overall.
Scouts say he has good arm strength and that he’s versatile enough of a player to try to make the big leagues as a catcher or an outfielder.
Jackson may attend Oregon, depending on his status with the Mariners.
Rancho Bernardo High has been a fount of MLB first-round picks in recent years. Three other players from the campus have been selected in the first round since 1995, including current Los Angeles Dodger pitcher Cole Hamels.
Four California players were taken in the draft through the first 24 picks, but three have San Diego connections.
The other local, Bradley Zimmer, 21, is an outfielder with the University of San Francisco who graduated from La Jolla High School, was picked by the Cleveland Indians in the 21st slot of the first round. He is credited with having good instincts in the field and the possibility for power hitting.
His brother Kyle, a pitcher, was selected by the Kansas City Royals two years ago.
The San Diego Padres picked outside of the area, selecting Trea Turner, a shortstop out of North Carolina State. He is credited with speed and is considered a prospect to be a leadoff hitter.
He’ll turn 21 at the end of the month.