Photo by Brian Paglia
Former Luella High shortstop Julius Gaines was drafted by the Boston Red Sox Wednesday in the 32nd round of the Major League draft. He is the first player in school history to be drafted since the school opened in 2003.
By Derrick Mahone
Julius Gaines wait finally ended Wednesday afternoon when the Boston Red Sox took the former Luella High shortstop in the draft.
Many had predicted that Gaines, who had signed a scholarship with Florida International University, would be taking in the earlier rounds.
Late Tuesday night, Gaines posted on his Facebook page that it looks like he would be honoring his scholarship offer after the first 30 rounds went without his name being called.
Wednesday, while watching a movie with his sister, Gaines phone rang with a Boston representative telling him the good news. He becomes the first player drafted from Luella since the school opened in 2003.
"It was real exciting getting that call," Gaines said. "It is now in my hands."
Typically, late round draftees that have signed with a college usually go on to college to improve their status. Gaines said he is confident that a good showing this summer could net him what he is looking for in contract negotiations.
He will play in a local wooden bat league and also travel to historic Fenway Park to play in a game against other Red Sox draftees.
This past season, Gaines hit .391 with seven doubles, three triples and two home runs with 18 RBIs in helping the Lions reach the Class AAAAA quarterfinals.
"It didn't happen like I wanted it too, but I still have a shot get what I want," he said. "I have an opportunity to raise my stock. It is all about he situation that I will have this summer."
Relieved to fullfil his dream of getting drafted, Gaines said he doesn't geel any pressure to perform this summer.
"This is something that I can control now," he said. "I'm just relieved its over. Getting chosen by Boston is very exciting."
Gaines can look for hope and encouragement from past late-round draft success stories.
In the past, there have been some hidden gems in the late rounds of the baseball draft. One of the most recognizable late-round draftees was former New York Mets catcher Mike Piazza, who went on to have an all-star career. In 1988, Piazza went wtih the 1,390 pick.
"After I didn't get drafted in the first two days, I just left it in God's hand," Gaines said. "I'm ready to get to work now."