Adam Conley was reminded of just how many friends he has moments after his name was called Tuesday during the second day of Major League Baseball’s first-year player draft.
“I heard from about all of them,” said Conley, who was following the draft online from his parents’ home in Olympia.
Conley, a 2008 graduate of Olympia High School who just wrapped up his junior season at Washington State, was selected in the second round – No. 72 overall – by the Florida Marlins.
“It’s an incredible experience,” Conley said. “It’s a blessing that they would give me an opportunity to play.”
Conley, a 6-foot-3, 185-pound left-handed pitcher, was the highest-drafted WSU player since 1991, when Boston nabbed pitcher Aaron Sele in the first round and catcher Scott Hatteberg in the supplemental first round. He was drafted highest of any South Sound player since the White Sox made Centralia High School’s Jason Stumm the No. 15 overall pick in 1999.
During the 2011 season, Conley had a team-high six victories and struck out 83 with a 3.50 ERA. His 13 career saves are tied for third at WSU and his 70 appearances are sixth-most on the WSU career list. Baseball America magazine ranked Conley 69th among this year’s draft-eligible players.
Tuesday was the second time Conley heard his name among those selected in the first-year player draft. In 2008, following his senior season at Olympia, he was taken in the 32nd round by Minnesota but elected to attend WSU.
“As a senior in high school, I needed to mature mentally and physically as a baseball player and a person,” Conley said. “With three years at WSU under pitching coach Gregg Swenson and head coach Donnie Marbut, I accomplished those things.”
At Olympia, Conley led the Bears to a 23-3 record and a third-place finish at the 2008 Class 4A state baseball tournament. He also was named MVP of the Narrows League and earned Olympian All-Area Player of the Year honors.
Conley said he has developed a good relationship with Gabe Sandy, the Marlins’ Pacific Northwest scout. He spoke with Sandy on Tuesday, but also said he hadn’t “talked business with anyone yet.”
The draft concludes today with rounds 31 through 50.
Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 firstname.lastname@example.org www.theolympian.com/prepsportsblog