Leading off today:
It will make for fascinating reading some day when the full story of Ian Anderson's past 72 hours gets written. For now, though, there's only one story that matters:
The 6-foot-3 right-hander became the surprise of the Major League Baseball draft on Thursday in Secaucus, N.J., when the Atlanta Braves selected the Shenendehowa pitcher with the No. 3 overall pick.
The only two New York high school players to have gone earlier since the draft was instituted in 1965 were Shawon Dunston (No. 1 in 1982) and Rick Manning (No. 2 in 1972).
The Braves started scrutinizing Anderson again when he fanned 16 Cicero-North Syracuse batters in the NYSPHSAA quarterfinals. Their interest reportedly had waned somewhat in April as Anderson struggled though a brief illness and minor injury before getting back in rhythm.
Multiple teams started tracking him closely once again last month, and it became a given that Anderson, 18, would be selected fairly early. The remaining question was just how high he might go, with multiple mock drafts placing him in the middle of the first round with the expectation that he would sign rather than head off to Vanderbilt University in the fall.
That's where the intrigue started to kick in -- more on that below -- until the team and Anderson's family struck a deal shortly before the draft began.
At 7:24 p.m., MLB commissioner Rob Manfred called Anderson's name.
"It was better than expected," Anderson told The Times Union. "I was nervous going up there, shaking I was so excited. It was great."
The Braves have been stocking up on pitching. They selected pitchers Kolby Allard and Michael Soroka in the first round of last year's draft.
"Ian's command of his pitches, especially his fastball, is really impressive for such a young pitcher," Brian Bridges, the Braves' director of scouting, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "He is one of the youngest players in this draft class, and he possesses a 'plus' fastball, curveball and changeup."
Anderson was the first pitcher taken Thursday and the highest New York scholastic selection since Dunston in 1982. Jon Rathbun at the Times Telegram points out that B.J. Surhoff (North Carolina by way of Rye) went No. 1 in 1985 and Pedro Alvarez (Vanderbilt by way of Horace Mann) was a No. 2 pick in 2008 after going the collegiate route.
"I knew going into tonight, probably 25 minutes before, that it was going to happen," he told The Record.