Leyden first baseman Jonathan Weaver was drafted by the White Sox on Friday in the 17th round of the First Year Player Draft
Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer
Achieving a lifelong dream doesn't mean Jonathan Weaver will be able to change a lifetime allegiance to another team.
The right-handed pitcher and two-time All-Area pick from Leyden was chosen by the White Sox in the 17th round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on Friday.
"I'm definitely excited," Weaver said. "It's close to home and I have a lot of friends and family who like the White Sox, so this made them happy.
"Except for my grandpa. He's a die-hard Cubs fan."
Any chance this might get him to wear a Sox hat?
"That might be a little tough," Weaver laughed.
Two other two-time all-area picks were selected as the final 44 rounds of the draft were completed Friday.
Conant left-handed pitcher Austin Wright was taken in the 22nd round by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Rolling Meadows outfielder Kyle Gaedele was taken in the 32nd round by the Tampa Bay Rays.
Weaver said he didn't have to worry about any cross-town allegiances because he doesn't watch the game much. But playing for a White Sox travel team last summer put the 6-foot-3, 185-pound Weaver on their radar.
A jump on the radar gun to the upper 80s and low 90s on occasion was also a big attention-getter as Weaver was 7-2 with a 1.04 ERA, 95 strikeouts and 16 walks in 60½ innings. Last year he was 9-0 with 46 strikeouts in 68 innings.
"Last year I didn't get a whole lot of attention because I wasn't really throwing as hard," Weaver said. "I picked up a few more miles per hour and as the season went on and on I realized this was more and more of a possibility."
Weaver said he plans to decide later this summer on attending Heartland Community College in Normal or signing with the Sox.
Gaedele, the Mid-Suburban East co-player of the year who hit .440 with 7 homers and 28 RBI, was the first high school position player from Illinois selected. The Rays entered the picture in the last month.
"It was really cool," Gaedele said. "I was on the computer for most of the day and I told myself I had to get out of here and went to work out.
"My brother (Ryan) called and said my name was on the computer and the next calls were from the Tampa Bay scouts. I knew I had the capability of it. I worked hard and some things fell the way they fell for me."
Gaedele, who is playing for Arlington's American Legion team, also figures to decide later this summer between the Rays and a nice-sized scholarship to Valparaiso.
"It's been my main goal," Gaedele said of playing in the major leagues. "This is one more step toward my main goal."
Oakton College first baseman Lenell McGee was taken in the 13th round by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Lake Zurich's Joey DeBernardis was in a win-win situation heading into the Major League Baseball first-year player draft this week.
He had already accepted a scholarship to Penn State University, but if he were selected high enough in his opinion, he would consider backing out and signing a professional contract.
DeBernardis was selected in the 38th round by the Florida Marlins.
"It's exciting, but that's pretty (low)," said DeBernardis, who was drafted 1,138th overall. "We'll just have to see what happens."
DeBernardis, a 6-foot-3, 195-pound third baseman, had a monster senior season for Lake Zurich. He batted .542 with a school-record 13 home runs, 15 doubles and 56 RBI. He also went 7-2 with a 0.82 ERA as a pitcher, and threw a no-hitter in the North Suburban Conference championship game.
He was named all-state and was selected as co-captain of the Daily Herald Lake County All-Area team.