Star Vanderbilt recruit likely to sign with Phillies

Tuesday, June 10, 2008 at 1:07am
VU recruit Anthony Hewitt appears headed to the pro ranks. [Rivals.com photo]

Vanderbilt faces long odds this summer in retaining standout baseball recruit Anthony Hewitt.

The shortstop from the Salisbury School in Connecticut was selected No. 24 overall in the first round last week by the Philadelphia Phillies in the annual Major League Draft.

Hewitt said he plans to sign with the Phillies “hopefully in the next few weeks. I don’t want to drag the process out too long.”

The No. 24 pick in the 2007 draft received a signing bonus of $1.25 million.

Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin has all but conceded that he will lose Hewitt, who committed to the Commodores last fall.

“It’s going to be tough,” Corbin said.

The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Hewitt, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., batted .536 as the leadoff hitter for Salisbury during the 2008 season.

Phillies scout Gene Schall filed this report on Hewitt: “Explosive-type player with excellent athletic abilities. Quick bat that can drive the ball to all fields. Potential to be a tape measure-type home run hitter. Good makeup. Physically he compares to a younger Ron Gant.”

Vanderbilt also appears on the verge of losing recruit Jason Esposito, a third baseman from Bethany, Conn.

He was Nashville-bound before being drafted in the seventh round last week by the Kansas City Royals and receiving an attractive signing-bonus offer.

“We weren’t going to go unless it was for a life-changing amount,” Esposito told the Connecticut Post. “I was at school today and I got a call to come down to the office. When I got there my mother told me (the Royals) changed their minds. It’s definitely a life-changing amount. Looks like I’m not going to school.”

Esposito was named Gatorade Connecticut Player of the Year in 2008 after batting .441 with nine home runs.

Other Vanderbilt recruits who were drafted last week are outfielder Ryan Westmoreland of Portsmouth, R.I., (fifth round by the Boston Red Sox), outfielder Adam Milligan of Walters State Community College (sixth round by the Atlanta Braves), Smyrna pitcher Sonny Gray (25th round by the Chicago Cubs), Battle Ground Academy pitcher Navery Moore (26th round by Boston), outfielder Matt Marquis of Annandale, N.J., (28th round by Boston), infielder Joe Loftus of Savage, Minn., (29th round by the Minnesota Twins), pitcher Jack Armstrong of Jupiter, Fla., (36th round by the Texas Rangers) and pitcher Will Clinard of Cross Plains, Tenn., (36th round by the Los Angeles Dodgers).

Gray, recently named Gatorade Tennessee Player of the Year, has publicly said he plans to enroll at Vanderbilt.

Major League teams have until Aug. 15 to sign draft picks.

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By: JeffF on 12/31/69 at 6:00

It stinks that MLB has setup their draft system in such a way to exclude kids from ever seeing the inside of a school. At least the NBA and NHL will give the kids at least a year or two of the life changing experience of high academics.