Four years ago, Ben Ramirez was drafted in the 35th round by the Chicago Cubs.
Tuesday on the final day of the 20-round MLB Draft, after four years at USC, the former Eastlake High standout was picked in the 13th round by the Seattle Mariners.
In four years, Ramirez went from the 1,065th player taken to the 384th.
In 2017, he wasn’t ready for pro ball and chose to play at USC.
Now, after hitting .305 with 10 homers and 54 RBIs this season for the Trojans, he says he’s ready to go.
Plus, he has a degree from USC in real estate development.
“I have another year of eligibility, but I’m ready to go out and play,” Ramirez said. “I could stay and go to grad school, but the program I like is a two-year program. So it’s time to start playing.
“My family is extremely happy I got my degree, so getting drafted is a win-win deal. Waiting to hear my name called was stressful. I was excited and relieved when it happened.”
Ramirez had hoped to get drafted last season when he batted .305 in a 15-game coronavirus-shortened season at USC. But it never came.
Ramirez is the sixth player from Eastlake to be drafted since shortstop Keoni Cavaco was chosen 13th overall by the Minnesota Twins in 2019.
Right-hander Casey Schmitt, who played at San Diego State, was taken in the second round last year by the San Francisco Giants and outfielder LJ Jones, who played at Long Beach State, was chosen in the fifth round by the St. Louis Cardinals.
Earlier in this draft, shortstop Marcelo Mayer went fourth overall to the Boston Red Sox and right-hander Grant Holman, who played at Cal, was taken in the sixth round by the Oakland A’s.
“Eastlake has turned into its own farm system for pro ball,” Ramirez said. “I’m so glad for all those guys.”
No San Diego high school players were taken Tuesday, but players with prep ties were plucked from the college ranks.
Right-hander Frankie Scalzo, who played at Vista High, was taken in the 14th round by the Chicago Cubs.
He was 2-2 with 12 saves and a 2.12 ERA at Grand Canyon University. He had 31 strikeouts in 292/3 innings.
Right-hander Tyler Thornton, who played at Santa Fe Christian, was taken in the 17th round by the Cleveland Indians.
He was 2-4 with a 5.54 ERA at Arizona State. His fastball sits at 91-94 mph and he had 78 strikeouts in 761/3 innings.
Outfielder Matt Rudick, who played at Scripps Ranch High, was taken in the 13th round out of San Diego State by the New York Mets.
Right-hander Mike Paredes, who played at San Diego High, was taken in the 18th round by the Minnesota Twins out of San Diego State.
Local college players taken
San Diego State led the Mountain West with five players taken in the draft after outfielders Rudick and Jaden Fein (15th round, Nationals) and right-hander Paredes were selected on the final day of the draft.
◆ They joined SDSU INF/OF Mike Jarvis and catcher Wyatt Hendrie, who were selected Monday by the Pirates in the sixth and seventh rounds, respectively.
◆ Rudick, a Scripps Ranch High graduate, led the Aztecs with a .410 batting average, along with four home runs and 41 RBIs. Fein hit .389 with four homers and 53 RBIs. Paredes, a San Diego High graduate, went 4-0 with a 5.59 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 771/3 innings pitched.
◆ USD sophomore RHP Jake Miller was selected in the 20th round by Cleveland, giving the Toreros two players in this year’s draft. Teammate Shane McGuire was selected Monday in the ninth round by Oakland. Miller was 6-2 for USD this season and led the West Coast Conference with a 2.52 ERA.
Staff writer Kirk Kenney contributed to this report.