Inner Confidence

During the first few rounds of Monday's Major League Baseball amateur draft, while the scouts were busy, organizations scrambled and hundreds of prospects likely waited by their phones, Florida State shortstop Stephen Drew had other plans.

Florida State junior shortstop Stephen Drew kept himself busy during Monday's Major League amateur draft.

When he returned – pole in hand – from a day of fishing in south Georgia the All-American learned that the Arizona Diamondbacks made him their first-round pick, taking Drew with the No. 15 pick overall.

"To be honest I haven't really thought about it," he said. "I'll worry about all of the other stuff that goes along with it after our season ends. I'll have plenty of time to take care of that."

That sentiment reflects Drew's method to the game and his approach to life. Throughout his three seasons at FSU, critics have confused his quiet confidence and easy nature with indifference.

His production, though, has never faltered despite those questions and other concerns regarding his toughness. Drew, hitting .357 with 17 homers, leads the team with 68 runs and is second behind Eddy Martinez-Esteve in nearly every other major offensive category. Impressive considering Drew missed almost a month earlier in the season with an inflamed sciatic nerve.

"You have to have confidence in yourself," he said. "That's where it starts. Even when I have struggled during stretches I go up knowing that I'm a good hitter and that things will fall into place."

Such was the case last weekend. After a 1-for-11 start to the Regional, Drew laid off the junk and feasted on fastballs, smacking three homers and an RBI triple in the championship doubleheader against Central Florida.

Along with teammate Bryan Zech, Drew was named co-MVP of the Regional for his efforts.

"He's shown the ability to adapt all season long," FSU coach Mike Martin said. "He's been able to handle whatever has come along and having a hitter with his maturity has been a tremendous asset."

Another asset: his leadership. Drew, Zech and veteran catcher Aaron Cheesman have been instrumental in providing a positive clubhouse environment for the young Seminoles. After losing five starters and its entire starting rotation form last season, FSU had some growing pains in the regular season, losing more games (21) than it had in almost a decade.

But the 'Noles, winners of 13 of their last 15, are hot at an opportune time. FSU travels to Arkansas this weekend for a best-of-three Super Regional series for the right to advance to the College World Series for the first time since 2000.

"Right now, the only thing I'm concerned about is winning this weekend against Arkansas," said Drew, known by his teammates as ‘Dirt' because of his tendency to wear large amounts of the playing field. "I'm tired of hearing about what it was like when (brother) J.D. was there. I want to go for myself."

J.D. Drew, who has taken over for Gary Sheffield in the Atlanta Braves' outfield, made a name for himself in Omaha. He'll be working along with middle brother, Tim (a pitcher in the Braves' farm system), to make the transition to pro ball as seamless as possible for Stephen.

"It's a huge advantage, having two older brothers who have gone in the draft and played in the minors and to big leagues," Stephen said. "Hopefully I can carry it over and, who knows, maybe one day we'll be playing for the same team.

"I've enjoyed my college career so far. Who knows how it will go."

For now his current teammates are happy to have him.

"It's such a blessing to play with him," said Martinez-Esteve, a second-round selection by the Giants. "You know your playing with one of the best. He's truly a five-tool player."


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