Final pick goes to Texas collegian
Yankees take Texas catcher with last draft selection
NEW YORK -- It took two days, 50 rounds and 1,500 selections before the Yankees brought the 2005 First-Year Player Draft to a close on Wednesday. And when the Bombers brought the festivities to an end, they did so by selecting Blake Heym with the 1,501 and final pick.
The Grayson Community College (Texas) catcher, by virtue of his being selected with the final pick, earned what MLB.com has been calling for seven years the "Don't Count Him Out" award.
Heym, an Alabama native, originally began his college career at Auburn. But after red-shirting his freshman year, he transferred last June to Grayson, where he had a solid season at the plate while learning to catch.
"He's a guy with some thunder in his bat," Grayson coach Tim Tadlock said. "He can hit. He's a lefty-hitting catcher with an average-to-Major League arm. He's a very intelligent kid with an aptitude to learn how to catch, call a game and all that. He's the best 50th-round pick I've seen in a while. And he's been drafted one time more than a lot of other people. If I were him, I'd sign right now."
The last player chosen in the draft has never gotten above Rookie level, either in the regular June draft or its secondary phase, which ended after 1986. No player chosen last in either the regular or the secondary phase of the January draft, which also ended after 1986, has ever reached the Major Leagues or gotten above Rookie ball.
Four players chosen last, however, did reach the Major Leagues after going back into the draft and then getting redrafted.
Outfielder Desi Wilson was chosen last in the 1989 draft by Houston after the Red Sox chose him in the 15th round two years earlier. Wilson, however, went back to Fairleigh Dickinson University after the Astros selected him with the 1,488th pick in '89 before going in the 30th round to the Rangers in 1991. He played 14 years in the Minor Leagues and in Japan, reaching the Major Leagues for 41 games with the Giants in 1996.
Catcher Don Wakamatsu was taken by the Yankees out of Arizona State with the final pick of the June draft in 1984 and was selected by the Reds a year later in the June draft. He eventually played 18 games for the White Sox in 1991.
Infielder Brad Mills was tabbed by the Twins with the final pick (No. 211) of the regular phase of the January draft in 1977, but opted not to sign. The Expos selected him two years later in the 17th round of the June draft, and he went on to play in 106 games over four years for Montreal.
Pitcher Danny Boone was chosen by the Angels with the 71st and final pick of the secondary phase of the 1974 January draft, but didn't sign despite the fact California had also selected him in the 15th round the previous June. Boone would be drafted by the Yankees in the 14th round of the June draft in 1975 while the Angels continued their pursuit of him by taking him in the secondary phase of the June draft in '76.
It wasn't until the Padres tabbed him in the secondary phase of the following January draft that he actually signed. He reached the Major Leagues, appearing in 61 games for San Diego and Houston over four seasons.
Kevin Czerwinski is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.