Top Southeast players could be called in later rounds of draft

Tuesday, June 4, 2002

Southeast Missouri State University probably won't have any players selected in the early rounds today, but several could be called by the time the 50-round Major League Baseball Amateur Draft concludes Wednesday.

High school graduates, all junior college players and players from four-year colleges who have completed either their junior or senior seasons are eligible to be drafted.

"Based on talking to various scouts and the amount of interest some of our players received during the season, I think a few of our guys have a chance," Southeast coach Mark Hogan said.

Topping the list, according to Hogan, is pitcher Brandon Smith. After three obscure seasons with the Indians, the senior right-hander broke out this year with a 12-2 record.

"Brandon is the guy the scouts have liked the most for some time," Hogan said. "He has a pro-type arm and does things they like. It's like they were waiting for him to have a breakout year, which he did."

Another senior right-hander, Brad Purcell, is also a draft possibility, Hogan said. Purcell went 12-3 this year and he and Smith wound up tied for the school's single-season victory record along with Todd Pennington, who was drafted by Cleveland in the 46th round last year.

Senior center fielder Vern Hatton, who led the Indians in hitting and runs batted in, is another possibility. Hogan said senior second baseman Clemente Bonilla, the Ohio Valley Conference career record-holder in walks, is more of a longshot.

Among underclassmen, Hogan said junior shortstop Zach Borowiak stands a solid chance of being drafted. If that happens, it's up to Borowiak to either sign a professional contract or return for his senior season.

Pennington was faced with a similar decision last season after he led the nation in earned-run average. He decided to sign and passed up his final year of eligibility.

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