Moloka'i's Loo signs with Reds

By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer

Moloka'i's Milton Loo effectively took himself out of tomorrow's Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by signing with Cincinnati for a $220,000 signing bonus Saturday after his Yavapai team lost to Walters State in the national junior college World Series championship game in Grand Junction, Colo.

Loo, an infielder and 2004 Moloka'i High grad, confirmed the signing last night from Arizona. He plans to return home today.

The MLB draft will be held tomorrow and Wednesday, lasting 50 rounds.

Loo was drafted as a shortstop in 2005 in the sixth round by the Reds. He had 48 hours from his last game to sign or be put back into this year's draft pool. Normally, draft-and-follow prospects have a week before the draft to sign, but since Yavapai was in the World Series, Loo had an extension.

"I'm happy," he said in a telephone interview. "I'm ready to get started."

Loo was drafted by the Reds in the 17th round in 2004 out of Moloka'i High, but opted to play at Yavapai, a junior college in Prescott, Ariz. Junior college players are eligible for the draft each year.

With Loo signed, University of Hawai'i starting pitcher Steven Wright will likely be the highest player selected with a tie to Hawai'i. Wright, a junior right-hander, is projected to be taken within the first five rounds. Baseball America ranked him 50th in its top 200 prospects. He was drafted in the 26th round by the San Diego Padres out of Valley View High (Moreno, Calif.) in 2003.

Wright (11-2 with a 2.30 ERA) developed mononucleosis prior to the start of the Corvallis, Ore., regional and missed his scheduled Friday start.

Also, San Diego junior second baseman Keoni Ruth, a 2003 graduate of The Kamehameha Schools, might be selected again. He was a 17th-round pick by the Kansas City Royals out of high school. He sustained a left shoulder injury in Friday's regional opener against Fresno State in Fullerton, Calif. that forced him to leave the game.

A few college seniors might also be selected, including UH catcher Esteban Lopez and Rainbow outfielder Matt Inouye, as well as San Francisco pitcher Patrick McGuigan, a 2002 Mid-Pacific graduate.

Scouts were not high on this year's Hawai'i high school seniors. Only Iolani left-handed pitcher Wally Marciel's name has been mentioned. Marciel, who signed a letter of intent with Kansas, is the only prep name to pop up in national scouting reports.

Reach Stacy Kaneshiro at