WNCC loses Smit to the Dodgers
Appeal Sports Editor
The Western Nevada Community College baseball team has lost its first player to the Major League Baseball draft.
Spanish Springs Kyle Smit, who signed with WNCC, said he’s going to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers after the team made him the 143rd overall pick in the draft on Tuesday, taking him in the fifth round. A Dodgers’ scout was scheduled to fly in to begin negotiations with Smit on Tuesday night.
While Smit said he had no timetable for how long the negotiations would take, he said he will sign with the Dodgers. “I get to play professional baseball and I’m just really excited,” he said.
Smit originally set a figure of a $300,000 signing bonus for him to sign. While fifth round choices can receive a signing bonus that’s as much as $300,000, Smit said he expects to sign for a signing bonus of $200,000.
“That was what I was looking for,” said Smit about the $300,000 figure. “I’m just looking to sign now.”
Smit said he expected to be taken in the fourth to sixth rounds. “I was a little surprised with the team, but that’s OK.”
Smit, a right-handed pitcher, is 6-3, 175 pounds and has a fastball that reaches 93 miles an hour. Smit is expected to become bigger and stronger and should add a few miles an hour to his fastball, which was something the Dodgers couldn’t pass up.
“I think that they think he’s got a chance to throw 95-96 miles an hour and more,” WNCC coach D.J. Whittemore said.
Whittemore said he was happy for Smit. “They’re going to do everything in their power to sign him,” Whittemore said. “I’m excited for him. This is every kid’s dream.
“There’s a lot of kids out there still dreaming that haven’t had a chance to be picked, yet. I think it’s awesome because I think he’s going to have a chance to sign.”
Whittemore admitted a major reason why he was able to sign WNCC is because there was a strong chance he would sign with a Major League team.
“This is probably why we were able to sign him because of his draft status,” Whittemore said.
Only two other player with Northern Nevada ties were drafted on Tuesday. North Valleys’ standout Scott Cousins, who helped lead San Francisco to its first ever NCAA Tournament appearance this year, was the 95th pick overall, taken in the third round by the Florida Marlins.
University of Nevada outfielder Shawn Scobee was taken in the 14th roundd by the Toronto Blue Jays as the 420th overall pick
Cousins was a two-way player at San Francisco, who still has the potential to be used as a pitcher. The Marlins took him as an outfield and many scouts say he could potentially become a power-hitting center fielder. As a third-round pick, Cousins could receive a signing bonus in the $400,000-$500,000 range.
Scobee was an all-Western Athletic Conference first team pick this past season after leading the WAC in home runs (22), slugging percentage (.847) and total bases (144). He wsa second in the conference in hitting with a .371 average.
In just two years with the Wolf Pack, he ranks third in school history with 40 homers. Since Scobee is a senior, he doesn’t have as much bargaining power, but should still receive a signing bonus in the $50,000 range.
There are several other players in the WNCC program, who could be taken on the final day of the draft today. Whittemore said he expects current WNCC pitchers Mason Tobin and Cole Rohrbough to be drafted and Foothill pitcher Kevin Creier of Las Vegas, who has signed with the Wildcats, to be drafted.
Whittemore said Tobin could sign, but that he didn’t expect Rohrbough or Creier to sign. Whittemore said that Reno High’s Davis Banks, who has signed with WNCC, and current Wildcat pitcher Josh Brink also have a chance to sign.
The first 18 rounds of the draft were held on Tuesday and the final 32 rounds will be held today.