The outcome was to be different this
time. Losing was not an option for Floyd, expected to be a top five pick
in the first-year player draft on June 5.
With a huge crowd in
attendance, thanks in large part to a feature story in The Baltimore
Sun that same day, Floyd did not disappoint. He pitched 10 shutout
innings (remember, high school games usually last seven innings) and only
allowed two hits and two walks while striking out 13 and tossing 110
pitches. To top it all off, he even stroked the game-winning hit to center
field with two runners on and two outs in the bottom of the 10th to give
the Gaels a hard-fought 1-0 victory.
Make that record 30 and
In what was to be his final appearance on a high school mound,
the 6'5", 200 pound right-hander pitched his heart out. Everyone in
attendance walked away from that field knowing that they had just
witnessed something special.
Floyd's fastball, consistently in the
92-94 mph range with good life, was clocked as high as 95-96 mph at times.
His sharp breaking curveball, rated as the second best breaking ball in
the high school ranks by Baseball America, was about 75-77 mph
and nearly unhittable. Furthermore, he showed good command as well as the
ability to change speeds.
A great competitor with a sound delivery,
a mature mound presence, and a good feel for pitching, Floyd has been
handled well by Coach Dave Norton (see article #46 in the archives for
more on Norton) and is considered to be one of the safest picks among high
school pitchers eligible for the draft. Compared to everyone from Kerry
Wood to Darryl Kile to A.J. Burnett (minus the body piercings), Floyd
finished this season 8-2 with a 1.11 E.R.A. and a 103:24 strikeout-to-walk
ratio, and he certainly projects as a legitimate frontline starter in the
As such, Floyd has been well known to scouts and
prospect watchers in the mid-Atlantic area for several years and has
become accustomed to being in the spotlight. "It doesn't really bother
me," said Floyd, speaking of all the publicity. "I've been going to these
showcases that have 200 scouts and 100 scouts and I've had reporters come
up to me and stuff like that...it's fine."
Of course, Mount Saint Joseph is also the
alma mater of another likely top five draft pick, current Georgia Tech
third baseman Mark Teixeira (see article #15 in the archives for more on
Teixeira). Despite attending the same school, the two did not play on the
same team. When Teixeira was a much heralded high school senior playing on
the varsity, Floyd was still a relatively unknown freshman.
on the JV (junior varsity team), unfortunately. I wanted to play with
him," remarked Floyd, while icing down his arm following a regular season
victory in early May.
So, when Teixeira was receiving all that
attention as a senior, did Floyd think that he would be in the same
situation three years later?
"No, I didn't actually think that. I
didn't think it until sophomore year...I thought I was going to be a
pretty good varsity player. Then, junior year, I did better and they were
talking about me getting drafted. Then, summer (following my) junior year,
and fall, and then senior year it just started..."
profile and draft stock have continued to climb. It is now a near
certainty that Floyd will be one of the first seven picks, most likely in
the top five. In fact, he is expected to be the highest draft pick from a
Maryland high school since Harold Baines of St. Michaels was selected by
the Chicago White Sox with the first pick overall in 1977. However, Floyd
is well aware that not even Miss Cleo knows exactly how the draft will
"The draft is unpredictable. The best player doesn't always
go first. I mean, I'm sure the best players will go in the first round,
but we'll see."
And what about the possibility of being selected by
his hometown team, the Baltimore Orioles, who hold the seventh pick in the
"That would be nice. It would be different. It would be a
lot of people out there."
While Floyd sounded intrigued about the
possibility of playing in his hometown, the odds are that he will not be
available when the Orioles turn arrives. That said, what would it take to
convince Floyd, a native of Severna Park, Maryland, to pass on his
scholarship offer from the University of South Carolina and sign with
whichever team drafts him?
"Just the right situation, the right
money, the right program."
To this end, Floyd mentioned that he
will be advised by Shapiro, Robinson & Associates, a player
representation firm headed by Ron Shapiro. If the name Ron Shapiro sounds
familiar, it may be because his clients have included the likes of Cal
Ripken, Jr., Kirby Puckett, and Eddie Murray. In the words of Floyd,
"They're well respected by most, probably all, major league scouts and
organizations, so I'm happy with that."
As a likely top five pick
in the first-year player draft with a limitless future, Floyd certainly
has a lot to be happy about these days. So remember the name Gavin Floyd,
because there is a good chance that he will be pitching in the major
leagues in about three or four years down the road, and for many years