Diamond discussion on a Thursday……

Good Thursday. Can’t seem to get away from this can we? Small item of news for you on a Thursday and it’s from baseball, where a Valley college player finds himself among the best in the nation.

University of Hawaii sophomore ace pitcher Aaron Davenport this week was named as one of the top five college sophomore pitchers in the country by D1baseball.com. Davenport, who finished the shortened season with a perfect 4-0 record, 2.15 earned run average and a team-best 30 strikeouts in a little over 29 innings of work in five starts, is from Duvall and a 2018 Cedarcrest HS grad.

Davenport, who ranked fifth out of these top five pitchers – the others came from UCLA, Xavier of Ohio, Miami of Florida and Central Arkansas – was given the ranking based on strong scores in three different categories as ranked by the website – zone control (strikeouts, walks, hit batters, wild pitches), pitch ability (analytic averages such as WHIP and opponent slugging percentage) and durability (innings pitched and number of hitters faced). Davenport ranked around 90 in two of three categories, finishing a little lower in the zone control, but his overall score was 89.4, putting him in that fifth spot.

Davenport is expected to pitch this summer in the Cape Cod League in Massachusetts; the season is pending based on how quickly the current COVID-19 outbreak can be controlled; the state is among several which have instituted measures similar to those imposed here in Washington by our state’s governor, Jay Inslee, to help fight the spread of the deadly disease. It is anticipated that Davenport will get a greater opportunity to play this season compared to the limited action he had last summer.

Good stuff and something to watch this summer if that occurs.

Could Valley players’ dreams of making pro ball have to wait?: Davenport’s season, and those of other Valley college ball players, was cut short thanks to the NCAA’s and NAIA’s cancellations last week and earlier this week respectively of spring sports championships which led to conferences such as Hawaii’s Big West Conference scrapping the rest of their spring sports schedules thanks to the current virus outbreak. Well, it appears that some of the college seniors in that group, including Duvall’s Cody Banks, could have to wait another year to see their pro dreams realized.

According to the Associated Press, based on information from sources, Major League Baseball is looking into whether to cancel this year’s amateur draft. MLB, reported the AP last night, is discussing matters with the players union, and the cancellation of the draft appears to be on the table as a way to help teams maintain cash flow as games are not able to be played; MLB, like every other major professional, college or youth sports league in the U.S. and Canada, shut its doors last Thursday and Friday due to the rapid spread of the virus and growing restrictions on large gatherings and other things around the country. It is not known when MLB will be able to resume operations, and it is that uncertainty that is driving the fears about major financial losses for teams, who, according to the report from the AP, are considering potential layoffs of front office employees.

For MLB, there is also the issue of minor league baseball, which likewise has shut its doors for the time being with no estimated date of resumption. Were the outbreak to last a long while and a full cancellation of minor league play results from that, that, combined with the NCAA’s awarding of an extra year of eligibility to players affected by the spring sports shutdown, could make actual drafting this year a dicey proposition at best.

There was no mention in the story of a type of draft in which clubs could select players but not be obligated to sign those players until after the next college season is completed in 2021, but that type of draft could also work in this situation, sort of a “draft and follow” structure in which only the player’s professional rights would be held by the major league club but with the player remaining unsigned, the player would not risk losing eligibility. So we’ll see what happens in the coming days on this front.

These discussions are especially important for players such as Davenport’s fellow Cedarcrest alums Banks, a senior at Bellevue U. in Nebraska, Blaine Wagner, a senior at Seattle University, and Jake Jewell, a junior at the U. of Antelope Valley in California, all of whom would be eligible this year to be drafted, along with Isaac Mullins, a senior at Cal State-Dominguez Hills and Alden Huschle, also at Seattle U., both of whom are Mount Si HS grads. Whether any would have been drafted or not is very much an open question, but with all being eligible, this is something these guys, and other college draft-eligible players, will be watching.

Again, follow us on Twitter for the latest updates. We’re at @snovalleysports and we are also featuring some COVID-19 news coverage as well there.

Rhett Workman

About Rhett Workman

Rhett Workman is the editor of the Snoqualmie Valley Sports Journal. Workman is a veteran sports journalist, having covered Snoqualmie Valley sports for nearly a decade with the Snoqualmie Valley Record newspaper before starting up the SVSJ. Workman's coverage has earned the support and respect of Valley coaches, players, parents and fans, and the SVSJ continues the standard of coverage that Workman brought to the Valley Record.
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