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Mediocrity
06-04-2003, 12:18 PM
From our hometown paper.

White Sox take Sweeney in second round

By Jeff Johnson
The Gazette
Tuesday, June 03, 2003, 9:10:55 PM

CEDAR RAPIDS -- Ryan Sweeney and his family got a pretty good education Tuesday on the uncertainties of Major League Baseball's first-year player draft.
The Sweeneys learned quickly that there are no guarantees. That when a team tells you something, it might not be true.

``I had always heard don't believe anything you hear,'' said Gary Sweeney, Ryan's father. ``My thing was I'll believe it when I hear his name called.''

Predicted by many draft experts as Iowa's first-ever prep first-rounder, Sweeney lasted 15 picks into the second round until the Chicago White Sox took him as an outfielder. Sweeney was the 52nd overall selection, meaning Zach Hammes of Iowa City High is still the highest Iowa high-schooler drafted.

The pitcher went 51st overall last year to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

``I'm excited,'' Ryan Sweeney said. ``I wanted to go earlier, but what can you do? Anything that happens is going to happen. I am happy to be a White Sox (draftee) now. We'll have to see what goes on the next couple of weeks.''

Speaking of the Dodgers, that's where Baseball America magazine predicted Sweeney would end up as a first-round pick. The Sweeneys thought as much, too.

Then again, they heard a lot of stuff that ended up not coming true.

The New York Yankees called and told them they would take Ryan if he was available for their first-round pick. Then they heard the Seattle Mariners might take him in the supplemental part of the first round. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays phoned and told him he was theirs with the first pick of the second round.

None of it happened.

``There were a lot of things promised,'' Gary Sweeney said. ``Not really promised, but `If this happens, we're going to do this.' Then those things did not happen. Even this morning, we really thought he was going to go first round with the White Sox.''

Instead, the White Sox took University of Arizona outfielder Brian Anderson with their first selection. They snapped up Sweeney when he was still available for their second pick.

``You had some teams that were talking to me and then some teams that weren't talking to me,'' Ryan said. ``I knew I probably wouldn't go at certain picks, just because I hadn't talked to those teams. So I was getting nervous. Then when the first round was over and you had to wait 15 minutes (until the supplemental round started), I really started to pace.''

Gary Sweeney insisted his son go take batting practice with his Xavier teammates Tuesday to help relieve some of the draft tension.

``It was nerve-racking and everything,'' Ryan said. ``I was ready for it to come. I woke up every hour during the night last night. I got up at 8 o'clock this morning. Honestly, this last four hours was longer than it seemed the whole process took. Just hearing each person's name get called off and having to wait for mine, it seemed like forever.''

His name finally got called. The Sweeneys first heard it on a live Internet broadcast of the draft, then a White Sox representative phoned a short time later.

``From our standpoint, we know the White Sox really, really wanted him pretty badly,'' Gary Sweeney said.

How badly is the next question.

Ryan Sweeney has a full-ride scholarship to play for Tony Gwynn at San Diego State University in his back pocket, and that's a pretty good negotiating tool. Sweeney won't command a million-dollar signing bonus, as he would have as a first-round pick, but he can probably look somewhere in the $750,000 range. That's what Hammes got last year.

Will that be enough to entice him to turn pro?

``I don't know,'' he said. ``There have been a lot of numbers thrown around.''

Sweeney said he and his advisers -- well-known agent Larry Reynolds and his firm -- expect to begin negotiations with the White Sox in the next couple of days. He hopes his situation can be resolved -- one way or another -- in a couple of weeks.

The White Sox have until Sweeney steps foot in his first class at San Diego State to sign him. Sweeney said he is likely done playing high school ball with Xavier, unless he decides not to sign professionally.

``It's totally his decision,'' Gary Sweeney said. ``I know what he wants to do, so if things work out in negotiations with the White Sox, I'm sure he'll go play.''

A.T. Money
06-04-2003, 12:22 PM
Is this kid all that he's hyped to be? A lot of teams showed interest.

Randar68
06-04-2003, 12:27 PM
Originally posted by SoxDemon
Is this kid all that he's hyped to be? A lot of teams showed interest.

He is first round talent. If the Sox can get him for 1 million signing bonus, it will be one of the (if not THE) best bargains of the early rounds.