The Maui News - Branden Kaupe, 18-year-old switch-hitting middle infielder for Baldwin High School, was selected by the New York Mets last week in the fourth round of the Major League Baseball draft.
Selected 140th overall, Kaupe is the second-highest MLB draft pick ever from Maui County, behind Oakland Athletics catcher Kurt Suzuki, another Baldwin graduate who went in the second round out of Cal State Fullerton in 2004.
Kaupe made a large impression in October when he had the third-fastest 60-yard dash time (6.46 seconds) at the Arizona Senior Fall Classic. He said the Mets, Atlanta Braves and Baltimore Orioles showed the most interest, but admitted he was shocked to go in the fourth round after scouts told him he was in the sixth-to-eighth-round range.
In 18 games this season, Kaupe hit .511 with two home runs, three triples, five doubles, 16 stolen bases and 21 RBIs. He did not strike out in 45 at-bats.
The Mets' Website lists Kaupe as a shortstop, but he thinks second base will be his designated position.
Although Kaupe has a scholarship waiting for him at Central Arizona Junior College, he said he will sign with the Mets when a team representative comes to Maui next week. Kaupe had planned to pass up school if drafted in the sixth round or better.
"It was pretty much a no-brainer after I got picked--this is pretty much a once-in-a-lifetime thing," he said.