Hooft, Paganetti moving on

Two former Galena High graduates will likely begin their dream of making the Major Leagues this summer.

Joey Hooft and Billy Paganetti, both 2001 Galena graduates, will likely be playing in the Minor Leagues this summer. Baseball America has reported on its web site that Hooft has signed with the Texas Rangers.

Hooft was a 20th round draft choice of the Rangers. He finished his collegiate career at Arizona State with a bang, being named to the all-College World Series team after helping lead the Sun Devils to a third place finish in Omaha, Neb.

Hooft went 8-for-19 (.421) in the CWS with four runs, two doubles and two RBI. In three career trips to the CWS, two with Miami, Hooft went 12-for-30 (.400). Hooft signed with Miami out of Galena and played there for three seasons before transferring to ASU this past year for his senior season.

During this past season, Hooft hit .293 (55-for-188) with nine doubles, one triple, one home run and 28 RBI. Hooft started at third and second base for the Sun Devils this past season.

The Rangers drafted Hooft as a second baseman and his defensive skills were likely a major reason why the team took him. While terms weren't disclosed, players who are drafted as high as Hooft ordinarily receive a signing bonus in the $15,000-range.

Major League teams ordinarily place college players they sign with their short season Class A affiliate. If that's the case, then the Rangers would place Hooft with their short season Class A team in Spokane, Wash.

As a big, strong left-handed hitter, Paganetti was considered a potential first round draft choice out of high school, but decided to honor his scholarship at Stanford. Injuries derailed his career at Stanford.

But now Paganetti will receive a second chance as a pitcher. He was pitching this summer with the Yuba (Calif.) Devil Rays where a Chicago Cubs scout spotted him. Paganetti received an offer from the Cubs and said he plans to sign with the team this summer. He will then report to the team's Rookie League club in Arizona.

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