Major League Baseball has done it again.  When they want good players… really good players… they invariably come to the Tampa Bay area.

From Dwight Gooden to Gary Sheffield to Tino Martinez to Kyle Tucker… to Alex Faedo Monday of this week.  They’re all were first-round choices in baseball’s amateur draft.  And Alex was not alone.

Nate Pearson and Kevin Merrell were also selected in the first round this year, a hallmark of excellence in Tampa Bay baseball.

But first Alex Faedo.  That name should be familiar, part of the famed baseball Faedos in Tampa.  Alex’s Uncle Lenny Faedo was drafted #16 in the first round of the 1978 draft by the Minnesota Twins.  Alex played for his father, Landy Faedo, the longtime head coach at Alonso HS in Tampa.  He was actually drafted out of high school by the Detroit Tigers, 3 years ago.. in the 40th round.  That wasn’t enough to turn down an offer from the University of Florida, so Alex headed to Gainesville… where he’s now headed to the College World Series with the Gators, as their front-line starting pitcher.  

And while he was wrapping up the Gators’ win in the Super Regional, he was being drafted.. again.. by the Tigers, #18 in the first round.

Next up was Nate Pearson, another Tampa native who pitched at Bishop McLaughlin HS, Pearson showed a lot of promise but was hurt so he wasn’t drafted.  He took the Junior College route, pitching at the College of Central Florida, and pitched himself into the first round, taken at #28 by Toronto.  Young Nate is a load, 6’6” 245 lbs, with a blazing fastball to match.

And at  #33 in the first round, shortstop Kevin Merrell was selected by the Oakland A’s.  Kevin played for the veteran coach John Crumbley at Steinbrenner HS, then stuck around to play at the University of South Florida, where he led the Bulls’ conference in hitting at .384.  Even though base stealing seems to be a lost art, Kevin is considered one of the fastest players in the draft.

So, there you go.  Three Tampa-area kids taken in the first round, and with each one of them expected to receive million-dollar offers, they’ll probably sign.  And with who knows how many more Tampa kids to be drafted in the next two days, the Bay Area pipeline continues to keep it exciting for local fans of the game. For more information about Tampa sporting events and articles on local sports visit my Local Contributor Page. (Free to use cover photo from Diamond Elite)