The Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft is often a unique balance between ability and signability, where a player's talent doesn't always correlate to his draft position.
Sierra Vista (Las Vegas) pitcher Nick Kingham was the first high school player from Nevada selected in the draft, going in the fourth round (No. 117 overall) on Tuesday to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Drew Robinson, a shortstop from Silverado (Las Vegas), was selected 19 picks later in the fourth round by the Texas Rangers (No. 136 overall).
Each of those players was expected to go early on the second day of the draft. Then there's the case of Bonanza (Las Vegas) infielder Kris Bryant.
Widely regarded as the top prep prospect in the state (No. 1 overall pick Bryce Harper skipped his final two years at Las Vegas High and played at College of Southern Nevada), the 6-foot-5 Bryant lasted until the 18th round before he was tabbed by the Toronto Blue Jays (No. 546 overall).
"I think I would have (gone higher), but it’s the whole ‘signability’ thing," Bryant told NevadaPreps.com.
Kingham, a 6-5 right-hander, earned first-team all-state honors after going 6-3 with a 2.01 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 59 1/3 innings. All three of his losses came at the hands of five-time defending 4A state champion Bishop Gorman. Kingham signed a letter of intent with Oregon, but now has until Aug. 16 to decide whether he will sign with the Pirates or attend school.
"I’m a big right-hander; that’s what they’re looking for," Kingham told NevadaPreps.com. "If we meet in the middle and agree on terms, the Pirates will be the way I go. There’s no bad way I can come out of this. I’m in a really good situation. There’s no losing in this right now."
Robinson batted .500 with nine home runs and 42 RBI for Silverado and was a second-team all-state selection. He signed with Nebraska and also has the option to attend College of Southern Nevada, although he indicated he will listen to the Rangers' offer as well.
"It’s (a position) a lot of kids aspire to be in, and I feel really honored and grateful to be in this situation," Robinson told NevadaPreps.com. "It’s what will be right for me. I want to play, but I’ve definitely got to weigh both options and go with the right set of mind."
Bryant, meanwhile, made it clear to pro teams that he valued education and was intent on attending the University of San Diego. So despite hitting 22 home runs as a senior, which is No. 3 all-time in Nevada, and being a consensus top-60 prospect by several publications, the power hitter lasted well into the second day of the three-day event in Seacaucus, N.J.
"I completely understand where I went because the commitment to USD is really strong for me," Bryant, who had a weighted 4.78 GPA as a senior, told NevadaPreps.com. "I really like school and believe in a higher education."
Other prep players from Nevada who were selected on Tuesday include:
* Spring Valley (Las Vegas) right-hander Aaron Blair, a Marshall signee, went in the 21st round (No. 633 overall) to the Houston Astros.
* Galena (Reno) outfielder Brian Pointer was chosen in the 28th round (No. 861) by the Philadelphia Phillies. Pointer signed with Oregon State.
* Centennial (Las Vegas) right-hander Michael Wagner, who signed with USD, was selected in the 28th round (No. 863) by the Boston Red Sox.The draft continued Wednesday with rounds 31-50.
REED LEADS SUNRISE ALL-STARS
Dezerick Reed of Del Sol (Las Vegas) ran for 65 yards and a touchdown as the Sunrise Region seniors beat the Sunset Region 20-9 in the 39th West Charleston Lions Club High School All-Star Game Saturday at Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas).
Reed was named the game's Overall Most Valuable Player. The Gatorade state player of the year is hoping to walk on at UNLV in the fall.
"It’s an all-star game; I wasn’t really worried about carries," Reed told NevadaPreps.com. "I wanted to come out and have fun. It felt good to get back into pads and run around a little."
Reed scored on a 5-yard run to give the Sunrise a 20-0 lead with 5:25 left in the second quarter. The touchdown was set up by a 25-yard interception return by Trenton Tipton of Silverado (Las Vegas).
Green Valley (Henderson) kicker Nolan Kohorst, a UNLV signee, kicked 32- and 26-yard field goals for the Sunrise. Coronado (Henderson) quarterback R.J. Newton tossed a 35-yard touchdown to Del Sol’s Evan Weinstock in the first quarter. Weinstock is headed to Brown.
Palo Verde running back Tyrone Blake, a Southern Utah signee, earned the Offensive MVP for the Sunset after rushing for 35 yards on eight carries. Desert Pines (Las Vegas) linebacker Keorris Berry of the Sunrise was named Defensive MVP.
David Schoen works at the Las Vegas Review-Journal, and is a former Associate Sports Editor and Turn2 columnist for the Oakland (Calif.) Tribune. You can reach him at ByDavid1@aol.com.