Players who made Prince George Citizen Field their temporary home during the 2009 World Baseball Challenge figured prominently on the first day of the MLB draft, held Monday.
Three men who suited up for Team USA in the July tournament were top-10 selections, while others were chosen 12th, 36th and 41st.
Christian Colon, a shortstop for Cal State Fullerton, was the first guy with the WBC connection who had his name called. Colon -- whom local fans may remember as the player who broke a leg during a semifinal game against Team Canada -- went fourth overall to the Kansas City Royals.
With the next pick, the Cleveland Indians opted for left-handed pitcher Drew Pomeranz, who plays college ball at Mississippi. In the WBC championship game, the six-foot-five, 231-pound Pomeranz was the winning pitcher. In an 8-1 victory against Team Germany, he flirted with a no-hitter and eventually gave up only one, a two-out single to Andreas Janzen in the seventh inning. In the contest, Pomeranz fanned 12 German batters.
Also on Monday, Team USA outfielder Michael Choice became property of the Oakland A's, who used the 10th overall pick to claim his rights. Choice is a member of the Texas-Arlington program. This season, he was the Southland Conference player-of-the-year.
Yasmani Grandal, a catcher, was the man picked at No. 12. The University of Miami product is now in the system of the Cincinnati Reds. At No. 36, the Boston Red Sox took outfielder Bryce Brentz, and at No. 41, the Toronto Blue Jays snagged Asher Wojciechowski, a right-handed chucker who plays his college ball for The Citadel.
"It's tremendous to see players who were so impressive in Prince George last summer take the next step in their baseball careers, and this just shows why so many MLB scouts were in our city to evaluate the talent," said WBC co-chair and marketing director Shawn Rice.
"It's exciting to look ahead and see them playing in the big leagues, and to think of the 2011 tournament and the skilled players we'll see again."
Not surprisingly, three of the above players earned individual honours at the WBC. Pomeranz was the all-star lefty pitcher, Choice was the home-run king and Grandal was the top designated hitter.
The WBC will return in the summer of 2011. Team USA, Team Canada and Team Germany are all expected to be back.