Brewers grab Hand in baseball draft
Hatton grad taken in 14th round, but he's uncertain if he'll sign deal or return for senior year at Jax State
By Mark Edwards
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Jacksonville State right-handed pitcher Donovan Hand spent much of Friday morning at his parents' home in Hatton, monitoring the baseball draft on the Internet.
The Hatton High graduate had reason to watch, since both the Washington Nationals and Milwaukee Brewers had indicated to him that they might take him.
About 12:30 p.m., the wait ended. The Brewers took Hand in the 14th round and the 431st selection of the draft.
"I'm pretty excited," said Hand, 21, who is 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds. "It's always been my dream to play in the major leagues."
However, this is only the start of the process for Hand, and he's uncertain if it will end with him signing with the Brewers. He still has one more year of eligibility at Jacksonville State, which means he could return to school and re-enter the draft in the summer of 2008.
"I'm not 100 percent sure if I'll sign with them or if I'll return to Jacksonville State," he said. "A lot depends on negotiating. Over the next couple of weeks, I'll figure out what I want to do."
However, Hand has a preference on how this turns out.
"I guess I'm leaning toward signing," Hand said.
Hand said he has known Brewers scout Joe Mason since high school. Mason scouts Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi for the major league club.
"I knew the Brewers were interested, but I didn't know they were this serious," he said.
Hand finished this season with a 7-8 record after struggling with his pitching mechanics early in the year and beginning 0-4. His 3.78 ERA led the team, and that number went down to 2.87 against Ohio Valley Conference opponents. Conference batters hit only .192 against him.
He made all-OVC for the third time in three years and was named the league's pitcher of the week four times.
He entered the season with a 19-8 record in his first two years and a 2.72 ERA.
"When my coach and I were talking after the season, I told him that even though my numbers don't show it, I thought this was my best year of pitching," Hand said. "I had to battle through a lot. Instead of 7-8, it easily could've been 10-5 or 12-4."
At Hatton, he helped the Hornets finish runner-up in the Class 2A state playoffs in 2003. As a senior in 2004, he finished 7-0 with an 0.62 ERA.
Pro draft visits Hatton
Donovan Hand, an all-state baseball pitcher in 2003 and ’04 at Hatton High, went in the 14th round of the pro baseball draft Friday to the Milwaukee Brewers.
Hand has posted a 26-16 record in three years at Jacksonville State and made all-Ohio Valley Conference all three seasons.
Hand has the option of signing with the Brewers or returning to school for his senior season and re-entering the draft in 2008.
- Mark Edwards
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