Saturday, March 19, 2011

Chicago selects King with top draft pick

With their #1 overall pick in Season 13's amateur player draft, the Chicago Cows selected Oklahoma prep star Frank King. The 18-year-old King hails from the tiny town of Beggs, just south of Tulsa, and attended Tulsa's Bishop Kelley High School, where he primarily played second base and center field. While at Bishop Kelley, he set or tied numerous state records for hitting, including Mickey Mantle's mark for career home runs. The late Commerce Comet is one of King's baseball idols - he even started switch-hitting out of admiration for Mantle - and there's more than a passing resemblance between their skills as players. King has, as once scout put it, "power and speed that's simply unnatural to see in such a young kid, with plenty of potential to continue to develop both". The Tulsa World recently interviewed one old-timer who's been watching area baseball since World War II, who was quoted as saying "If you squint hard when you watch King hit, it's easy to think you're seeing Mickey Mantle all over again".

All comparisons aside, King was universally regarded as the best high school position player in the country (opinions are split over whether pitcher Antonio Bolton, drafted 3rd by San Francisco, is a better player overall) and has a scholarship offer from nearly every major NCAA baseball program. However, he's not a pick without any risks - like Mantle, he has a history of injuries, and Baseball America described his work ethic as "somewhat questionable". But for the Cows, his upside was just too great to ignore, and they hope that in a few years he can become the face of the franchise.

As of this writing, the Cows are still negotiating the details of King's contract with his agent, Harry Diaz, but a source close to the negotiations says that he will "almost certainly" sign with Chicago, perhaps in the next few days.

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