Right: Cal State Fullerton’s Tyler Pill during his days with Covina High…
By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer
A childhood dream became a reality for former Cal State Fullerton teammates Noe Ramirez (Alhambra High) and Tyler Pill (Covina High) when they were selected Tuesday in day two of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
Pill, a right-handed pitcher who also batted No. 3 in the Titans’ lineup, was taken in the fourth round (132nd overall) by the New York Mets. He was ranked 59th in Baseball America’s top 100 college draft prospects list and was a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Award as the nation’s top player. He went 6-1 with a 2.08 ERA and led the Titans with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 99-19.
Glendora’s big swinging lefty John Alexander was the first area high school player taken, selected in the eighth round by the Tampa Bay Del Rays.
Diamond Bar’s Kenny Mathews, who is expected to compete at Cal State Fullerton, was selected in the 12th round by the New York Mets and Bonita 6-foot-8 lefty Adam McCreery, who battled back from injury, was taken in the 14th round by the Minnesota Twins. Bishop Amat’s Wallace Gonzalez was taken in the 29th round by the Houston Astros.
Pill, in an intimate setting flanked by his girlfriend and family at their Covina home, received a phone call from the Mets several picks before he heard the announcement on the MLB Network.
“They called me two or three picks before,” Pill said. “They said, `Here’s the deal.’ They laid it out and that was it, to listen in (on television) because I was going to be picked.
“To be honest, it hasn’t hit me yet. It’s definitely going to hit me in the next couple days. It’s definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience to be drafted. I’m just thrilled right now where I am.”
Pill said he’s excited about the team that drafted him and showed no concerns about the Mets’ recent struggles on and off the field.
“I feel getting drafted by any team is great,” he said. “I feel great about my situation. They’re in a great area.”
Now, time to work.
“I’m eager to do that because I know it’s going to take a long-term determination,” Pill said.
“I’m really looking forward to making it to the top.”
Ramirez, a right-handed pitcher, also was selected in the fourth round (142nd overall) by the Boston Red Sox. Ramirez, on direction from the Red Sox, declined comment.
“It’s great for him,” said Pill, who earned Big West Co-Freshman Pitcher of the Year along with Ramirez. “He’s a great guy and he’ll do great. Who knows? Maybe one day down the road we’ll get traded to the same team and get to play as teammates again.”
Ramirez, born and raised in East Los Angeles, was lightly recruited and undrafted out of Alhambra in 2008.
The 6-foot-3, 180-pounder (8-3, 1.74 ERA, 91 strikeouts) pitched in the College World Series opener against Arkansas as a freshman.
Ramirez is Alhambra coach Steve Gewecke’s first former player to be drafted.
“All of that is great,” Gewecke said, “but I’m happy for him as a person, number one. “He’s got unbelievable high character and is just a really neat young man. He’s going to get a chance to play professional baseball, and that’s every kid’s dream growing up.”
Also taken in the draft was former St. Francis standout Joe De Pinto (USC), who was taken in the 21st round, No. 651 overall, by the Chicago White Sox.