Devil Rays draft Farrell

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 12, 2002


HAHNVILLE – Right out of high school, graduating senior Jarrod Farrell has two options which could each lead him to grasping his life-long dream.

The 18-year-old pitcher not only has a full scholarship to the University of New Orleans lined up for him in the fall, but is the only Hahnville High School student to be drafted before playing in college.

Farrell began playing for the Tigers as a freshman on first base with some rotation onto the pitcher’s mound throwing about 81 mph. During his junior year with the Tigers, extra practice and workouts led to a dramatic improvement in Farrell’s pitching ability and at the tune of 89 mph pitches, he was quickly one of Hahnville’s ace pitchers.

During his senior year alone, he pitched 62 innings with a total of 55 strike outs, for a 2.36 ERA and 6-3 record. At bat, he maintained a .364 average, including two home runs and 19 RBIs.

His performance sent his phone ringing and his future flying 90 mph when the Tampa Bay Devil Rays’ scout told him he was picked in the 20th round of the draft.

“I’m really excited. The regional scout is going to come and talk to me sometime in the next few days and try to get me to sign,” said Farrell. He said like most other young kids on the ballfield, he’s always dreamed of playing professional baseball. In the last years of high school, he realized he had a real-world chance.

“I’ve always wanted to learn how to pitch, a lot of what I’ve learned, my parents taught me,” he said.

As he continued to strengthen his ability on the mound, his increased performance increased his confidence, which peaked after pitching and winning in the playoffs his senior year.

Tigers’ head coach Mark Sims said he recognized Farrell’s potential during his junior year.

“He was pitching hard, had the body size and the arm action,” said Sims, who has seen only three of his players drafted during his tenure as assistant and head coach at Hahnville. “As a head coach you might go 20 years and not have one player drafted. You don’t get a pitcher who’s 6-foot-5, 6-foot-6 with arm action like that often.”

Sims said the scouts also began to take notice while in the stands observing other Hahnville players.

“Now it’s just his decision to make, all I can do is tell him what life will be like in the minors,” he continued. “I spent 10 years in it and it’s a seven-day-a-week job. You spend the majority of your time in the ballpark and the pitcher’s mound is your office.”

He said each player has to perform to get a paycheck, and it’s hard for young players to make that adjustment.

“There’s pretty much long hours of practice at Hahnville too,” responded Farrell.

Should Farrell sign with the Devil Rays, he would likely be offered the opportunity to continue schooling, paid for by the Devil Rays after the team plays its short season schedule.

“I am going to weigh out the decision and see money-wise what they offer compared to UNO’s scholarship,” said Farrell.

“It doesn’t really matter which team I play for, just as long as I play.”

Currently, Farrell has continued practicing his pitches using a rotation workout schedule he learned about through a friend from the New Orleans Zephyrs team.

He spends certain days throwing a specific number of pitches, runs another day and performs other exercises each day across the week.