Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

June 8, 2014

Cleveland drafts VSU’s DeMasi in 31st round

Former Cook standout Betts selected by Pittsburgh

VALDOSTA — Dominic DeMasi was already a very productive pitcher.

However, when they tabbed the Valdosta State junior right-hander in the 31st round of the Major League Baseball draft Saturday, the Cleveland Indians were more interested in what they believe DeMasi can become.

“He has such an upside,” VSU coach Greg Guilliams said. “He obviously had a very good season, but when you look at his frame — he’s 6-4, lanky, his arm is loose — in my opinion, they’re drafting Dom not for what he is today but for what they think he’s going to be in 3-4-5 years.”

In his junior campaign, DeMasi was a workhorse for the Blazers. The 6-foot-3, 195-pounder threw a team-high 80 2-3 innings in 13 games, crafting a team-low 2.79 ERA. DeMasi tossed three complete games, including two shutouts, while striking out 77 batters. Opponents hit just .216 against DeMasi.

“Dom passes the smell test,” Guilliams added. “Dom looks the part. When you see and look at him, you say ‘That’s a pitcher.’ He’s tall, atheltic, loose arm.

“He has three pitches — a fastball, a good breaking ball and a good changeup. But they’re looking at what Dom could be and not what he is today.”

He also played the part of a draft pick Saturday night, overjoyed when he got word from the Indians that they were making him the 938th pick of the draft.

“It was breathtaking,” he said after becoming VSU’s first pick since Brandon Decker in 2010. Overall, DeMasi is the Valdosta State program’s 33rd draft pick.

“It’s a dream, just getting an opportunity and I’m very thankful for it. I’m just looking forward to playing ball again.”

Now the Savannah native has to decide whether to begin his professional career and sign with the Indians, or to return to VSU for one final season. DeMasi, who also serves as the punter on the Blazers’ football team, appeared in 17 games as a sophomore, throwing 41 innings with a 3.73 ERA after pitching 10 times in 2012 with a 3.38 ERA and .211 average against.

That decision wasn’t set to begin until later Saturday night after DeMasi heard back from Cleveland officials, and then had a chance to talk things over with his family.

“They’re going to call me back later and we’re going to talk and figure everything out,” he said. “They called to congratulate me and said they’d call back later (Saturday) night.

“I’m not sure about that yet. I’ve got to talk with my family and figure out what’s good for me.”

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