But on Tuesday when picks began in the first round of the annual Major League Baseball draft of amateur free agent players, Delmon's dreams came true. He was the first pick of the first round by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, who were reported to be wavering between Young and two others, including another high school outfielder from Florida.
Young hit .544 for the Scorpions this season and had seven homers and 28 RBI. He also is a pitcher with a very effective fastball, but Camarillo coach Scott Cline put an end to that for this season when a tinge of pain developed. Last year as a junior, Young led Camarillo to a 30-4 record with a .542 average, including 65 hits, 17 homers and 56 RBI. He was 5-1 as a pitcher with a 1.67 ERA.
Young's status as a prep phenom grew last summer at the World Junior Championships in Canada when he smashed nine homers in eight games and was the tourney MVP.
"Nobody in America his age, you can even add the college level, can hit with power like Delmon," said Bob Williams, the director of the Area Code Games, in a Student Sports Magazine cover story on Young in March. "He has Henry Aaron wrists, that bat flick and the launching uppercut. When he turned 16, he could've been signed then. If he was from Latin America, for example, he could've signed as a free agent and would've already had two years of development in the minors. He'd probably be at Double or Triple A ball by now, ready for the majors."
Perhaps one of the reasons the Devil Rays went with Young as their top choice was genetic. Delmon's older brother, Dmitri, plays for the Detroit Tigers and was a prep phenom in his own right. Dmitri was a Cal-Hi Sports State Player of the Year and was the fourth pick in the first round of the 1991 draft. The only other brothers who both have been selected in the first round are Andy and Alan Benes and J.D. and Tim Drew.
Young wasn't the only current California prep standout who went in the top 10, either. Third baseman Ian Stewart from La Quinta of Westminster, who is having a statistical year much like Young's from 2002, was nabbed with the 10th pick of the first round by the Colorado Rockies.
Including current college players who attended California high schools, the first round of the draft saw seven from the Golden State chosen. In addition to Young and Stewart, next in line were No. 13 Aaron Hill from Redwood of Visalia (LSU shortstop picked by Toronto); No. 19 Conor Jackson from El Camino Real of Woodland Hills (Cal third baseman picked by Arizona); No. 20 Chad Cordero from Don Lugo of Chino (Cal State Fullerton pitcher picked by Montreal); No. 28 Daric Barton from Marina of Huntington Beach (catcher picked by St. Louis); and No. 29 Carlos Quentin from University of San Diego (Stanford outfielder picked by Arizona). If Quentin makes it to the bigs, he'd join Uni grads Barry Zito and Mark Prior.
In the compensation round held just after the first round and before the second, one of the picks was Californian Adam Jones from Morse High of San Diego. Jones went to Seattle with the 37th overall selection.
The three California preps nabbed in the second round were pitcher JoJo Reyes from Poly of Riverside (No. 43 by Atlanta), shortstop Jeff Flaig from El Dorado of Placentia (No. 56 by Seattle) and pitcher Chuckie Tiffany from Charter Oak of Covina (No. 61 by the Dodgers). The Mariners have already had a lot of luck with an El Dorado grad in their lineup. It's the same school as current second baseman Bret Boone.
No. 1 Picks in the MLB Draft
from California high schools
2003 -- Delmon Young, Camarillo OF (by Tampa Bay)
2000 -- Adrian Gonzalez, Chula Vista Eastlake 1B (by Florida)
1998 -- Pat Burrell, San Jose Bellarmine 3B (by Philadelphia)*
1992 -- Phil Nevin, Placentia El Dorado 3B (by Houston)
1980 -- Darryl Strawberry, Los Angeles Crenshaw OF (by NY Mets)
1969 -- Jeff Burroughs, Long Beach Wilson OF (by Washington)
1968 -- Tim Foli, Sherman Oaks Notre Dame INF (by NY Mets)
1965 -- Rick Monday, Santa Monica OF (by KC Athletics)
*Attended the University of Miami when chosen.