With the 1st pick of the 11th Round (339th overall), the Astros select 6'3" 175lb LHP Hunter Virant, an 18-year old out of Adolfo Camarillo HS (CA). Questions about signability (one of the most ridiculous terms thrown around in the 2012 draft):
Virant has a commitment to UCLA, and the consensus seems to be that if he doesn't go by the end of the supplemental first round -- or get paid an amount consistent with that level of pick -- he will pitch at UCLA, where he potentially would join Lucas Giolito, another UCLA commit who is viewed as a tough sign.
Keith Law had Virant at #26 on his Top 100 list, while John Sickels ranked him #44th, and Frankie Piliere listed him at #39.
Virant hasn't been pitching for all that long, but he's shown the potential and projectability to get scouts very excited about his future.Virant has the chance to have four at least Major League average offerings. While his fastball sits in the 87-88 mph range, he'll touch 90 mph and with his projectable frame, there should be more in the tank.
Virant is yet another tall, thin left-hander with a projectable frame. He throws his fastball in the 92-96 mph range, and also has an excellent curveball and a low-80s changeup. Committed to UCLA, he’s advanced enough to start 2013 in Low-A if he opts to go pro.
LA Times HS sports columnist Eric Sondheimer called Virant one of the best athletes he’s seen in any sport in the Los Angeles area and wondered why he wasn’t the starting quarterback on the Camarillo High School football team and the starting point guard on the basketball team.
The Long Beach Press-Telegram talked to Virant on Sunday, and he knows money's what's up:
"It's 50-50. If a team wants to take me early and give me a good amount of money, it'll be a tough choice if I go to school at all. Playing major-league baseball has always been the ultimate goal, so if I can get there out of high school, it would a be pretty cool accomplishment."
LoneStarBall thought about the Rangers taking Virant with their 1st and 2nd Round picks. There's a reason that the Astros took him with the #11 pick - it's doubtful he'll sign.
Baseball America, on the pick:
If they don't sign Virant and he heads to UCLA, the Astros have lost an 11th-round pick. If they find they have saved enough money on their first 10 picks to sign him, Virant would give them a supplemental first-round talent.
Virant is a Phillies fan who loves Cliff Lee.