Draft brings back big league memories for RailCats

2013-06-07T22:00:00Z 2013-06-07T23:39:11Z Draft brings back big league memories for RailCatsHillary Smith hillary.smith@nwi.com, (219) 933-3233 nwitimes.com

GARY | RailCats catcher Ryan Babineau lived through the excitement and stress of MLB Draft Day twice.

After high school, Babineau was taken in the 13th round by the Milwaukee Brewers, and opted instead to improve and grow in college at UCLA.

He was injured during his junior year with the Bruins, and when his turn in the draft came around again, he was taken in the 17th round by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2008.

"I was really excited and I was really eager to see where I stood with Major League Baseball and how they'd fit me in their system," Babineau said. "It's where you stack up and how they evaluate you as a player."

The draft continued Friday with rounds three through 10 and will finish today. The RailCats watched the draft and the NCAA SuperRegional games in the clubhouse before Friday's game against Sioux Falls.

Drew Martinez was the highest RailCats draft pick, a 10th rounder in 2011.

"It's a little nerve wracking not knowing when you're going to be drafted," Martinez said. "It's frustrating because you want to go high and you don't know where you're going to go. When it happens, it's the biggest relief. It's the biggest relief and excitement you'll feel."

Martinez said he received a text from the San Diego Padres just before the start of the 10th round and told the team would be taking him. He was watching a movie and his father came into the room to tell him the Los Angeles Angels announced they'd selected Martinez a few slots higher.

"The Angels got me a couple picks before," Martinez said. "A lot happened and it's an exciting feeling knowing what you'd done had paid off."

A former scout for the Detroit Tigers, manager Greg Tagert said that draft day is as exciting for scouts as it is for players.

"From a scouting standpoint, you're hoping that one of the guys you recommend (is picked)," he said. "As much work as you put in, you're fortunate if one guy is taken."

The RailCats coaching staff will be closely watching the draft to see which players aren't taken. After the free agent signing period, the 'Cats will hold an undrafted senior workout. Kenny Bryant, who played 16 games with the RailCats last season, and Chase Tucker, the current shortstop, were found at the undrafted workout last season.

"That's why independent baseball is so good," Tagert said. "It's an opportunity for every player to pursue his goal of playing in the major leagues. Being drafted or not being drafted isn't the end all."

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