TRINITY — Mitchell High’s Cobi Johnson had to wait a little during Major League Baseball’s First-Year Player Draft, but he saw his name eventually flash on the board.
The San Diego Padres selected the right-handed pitcher with the 1,047th overall pick in the 35th Round last Saturday.
Earlier projections had Johnson going earlier in the draft, but his stock apparently slipped leading into the three-day event that began last Thursday with Rounds 1-2. The final 38 rounds took place between Friday and Saturday.
Johnson announced via Twitter that he is grateful for the opportunity to be selected, but plans to attend Florida State University next fall. He committed to the Seminoles two years ago.
“I’d like to thank the @Padres for giving me the opportunity to play professional baseball, however, I will be honoring my commitment to FSU,” he wrote.
Players who are selected out of high school but decide to go to college are eligible to re-enter the draft in three years.
Although Johnson will be putting off the major leagues for now, he joins two other former Mitchell Mustangs taken in the MLB draft. Patrick Schuster went to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 13th round in 2009 and Tyler Clippard went in the ninth round to the New York Yankees.
Johnson is also in line to become the second member of his family to play baseball professionally. His father, Dane, was drafted in the second round by the Toronto in 1984 and pitched in parts of three seasons with the Blue Jays, Chicago White Sox and Oakland Athletics. The elder Johnson now continues to serve as a pitching instructor for the Blue Jays.
While at Mitchell High, Johnson turned in four impressive years for Mustangs coach Scot Wilcox. He broke onto the scene primarily playing behind the plate his freshman year and quickly became one of Pasco County’s top prospects.
Mitchell qualified for the postseason in three out of the four years Johnson was on the roster. The best of those runs came last year, when the Mustangs advanced all the way to the Class 6A region final before being disqualified at King High.
Though his innings on the mound were curtailed this spring due to arm soreness, Johnson still struck out 51 batters over 31 1/3 innings and carried a 2.90 ERA. He also led Mitchell offensively, hitting a team-high .409 and driving in 14 runs.