White, Durst Talking To Teams

West Virginia's top two draft picks are currently in negotiations with their Major League Baseball teams.

Adam White, drafted in the ninth round with the 287th overall pick by the Cleveland Indians, is still talking with the team in between taking his summer classes, in which he was already enrolled. There have been no numbers locked down of yet for the speedy centerfielder, who hit .365 this season with 11 steals in 16 tries. He scored 45 runs and routinely tallied 60-yard dashes in 6.5 seconds. He did not commit an error in the field. White, rated the fifth-best prospect in the Mid-Atlantic Region by Baseball America, is considered a Major League-level outfielder defensively, but must work on his contact and add a bit of power to emerge in a league where home run hitting has largely overtaken any small ball style.

White has said, however, that he envisions the game returning to more of a yesteryear approach with players fearing larger reprimands by MLB for steroid usage. The number of home runs per year has fallen sharply over the last 24 months, and the current state of the game should give White, a 5-10, 195-pound junior-to-be from Philipsburg, Pa., a better chance to break through the series of minor league levels. Major League minimum salaries will increase to $380,000 in 2007, $390,000 in 2008, $400,000 in 2009 and to a cost-of-living increase in 2011. Minor League minimum salaries will increase to $60,000 in 2007, $62,500 in 2008 and $65,000 in 2009.

Left-handed pitcher Kenny Durst, selected by Colorado in the 15th round with the 462nd overall pick, will meet with Rockies later this week to discuss salary, any signing bonus and the years on his contract. He will then decide if the offer is rich enough for him to forgo his final year of college baseball, though he is considered a heavy lean to enter the minor leagues. The Point Pleasant, W.Va. native's line is that he possesses a solid MLB curve, but is not overpowering. His finesse style could couple well with his being a lefty, baseball teams having been noted to routinely give southpaws added chances not afforded to right handed throwers simply because of numbers.

As noted in a previous BlueGoldNews.com article, his leverage as a junior is a bit more limited than that of a freshman or sophomore, because if he returns to college for his senior season, his draft position would likely go down unless he makes a great improvement in the eyes of scouts. Once a player's college eligibility is used up, he can move down in the draft, because pro teams know that he doesn't have an option to return to school, and thus can be signed for less money. Durst had a 4.53 ERA in splitting 10 decisions in 14 starts. He pitched two complete games. He struck out 72 and walked 21 in a team-high 89.1 innings pitched.

Right-handed pitcher Levi Maxwell was taken in the 18th round by the Chicago White Sox, and shortstop Tyler Kuhn was picked in the 33rd round by the Indians. Maxwell, a rising senior from Shinnston, W.Va., is a probably returnee after going 4-5 in 10 appearances, nine of them starts. He had a 6.04 ERA in 53.2 innings pitched, striking out 29, walking 27 and hitting 10 batsmen. Major League teams like his arm strength. Kuhn, a rising junior from Louisville, will likely stay at West Virginia as well. The left-handing hitting, right-handed fielding Kuhn – who can man both middle infield slots – had a team fourth-best .332 batting average with 15 doubles, five home runs and 52 RBI. He tied a team high for walks with 28. Kuhn said he would likely "go down to the Valley League to play for the Luray Wranglers and then see how things go down there before making up my mind what I want to do."

White is the highest WVU player selected since outfielder Jarod Rine went in the ninth round to the Baltimore Orioles in 2003. It's the first time since a school-record six were drafted in 2001 that more than four West Virginia players have gone in the same year. Outfielder Justin Jenkins inked a free agent deal with Cleveland on May 23 and is currently playing for Class A Mahoning Valley. He finished the 2007 season with a .372 average and had 21 doubles and 11 home runs to lead WVU. At the conclusion of his senior year, he was named to the all-Big East first team. If White signs, the two could be playing alongside each other in the outfield.

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