MLB draft had quite the Hawaii presence

Kailua’s Joey Cantillo, who has signed to play at Kentucky, was one of six players who graduated from Hawaii high schools selected in the first 20 round of the 2017 MLB draft. Photo by Dennis Oda/Star-Advertiser.

For the first time since 2000, six Hawaii high school graduates were taken in the first 20 rounds of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft that ended Wednesday.

After KJ Harrison, Ryley Widell and Tanner Nishioka were taken in the first 10 rounds on Tuesday, four more prep stars heard their names called today.

Unlike Harrison (Oregon State), Widell (Central Arizona College) and Nishioka (Pomona-Pitzer), Hilo’s Joey Jarneski, Kailua’s Joey Cantillo, Waipahu’s Kobie Russell and Punahou’s Cole Cabrera were selected within weeks of graduating from high school.

Jarneski heard his name called first in the 12th round (No. 374 overall) by the Texas Rangers and became the first Viking drafted since the Cleveland Indians took Jodd Carter in 2014.

Cantillo, the first Kailua product drafted since Kale Sumner out of Hawaii Pacific in 2013, was selected in the 16th round (No. 468 overall) by the San Diego Padres. The Padres’ last draft pick with Hawaii ties was Zack Kometani, a Punahou alumnus who played at San Diego, in 2011.

Russell, who was selected as a catcher by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 17th round (No. 519 overall), became the first Marauder taken straight out of high school since Jerome Williams was drafted with the 39th overall pick in 1999.

That also meant six prep graduates of Hawaii high schools were gone in the first 17 rounds marking the first time that has happened since the 2000 class that featured Punahou’s Justin Wayne (No. 5 overall, Stanford), Kamehameha’s Dane Sardinha (No. 46, Pepperdine) and Kahi Kaanoi (No. 194), Hilo’s Brandon Chaves (No. 299, UH-Hilo), ‘Iolani’s Keoni DeRenne (No. 370, Arizona), Castle’s Ian Perio (No. 422, San Francisco) and Waianae’s Kaulana Kahaulua (No. 503, Los Angeles City College).

Last year, the first Hawaii prep graduate taken was Maui’s Mark Karaviotis out of Oregon in the 19th round.

Cabrera, who signed with Cal Poly, made it seven total taken when he was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 37th round (No. 1,099 overall). The last time seven prep athletes from Hawaii were selected in the same draft was 2015.


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