BUFFALO, N.Y. — Its been nearly 50 years since a baseball player from a city of Buffalo public school has been taken in the Major League Baseball draft.
That changed this week when the Cincinnati Reds selected McKinley pitcher Alexander Johnson in the 36th round of the draft. While Johnson said being drafted is the thrill of a lifetime."Its fantastic. Honestly. I never really thought it would be possible. You know I heard rumors and everything but to be considered is amazing."
Johnson is 6'5" and still growing. He has hit 92 mph on the radar and thinks with hard work he can get up to 98 in the next couple of years. He told Two on Your Side's Stu Boyar, "this season I was hitting 88, 89, then a few weeks after I got extra velocity I guess and I hit 91, again, then I hit 92."
Johnson works with long time baseball coach Ray Bielanin at the Sports Performance Park in the Eastern Hills Mall. Bielanin says is extremely coachable and a hard worker. He says Johnson is raw and calls him "a project with a strong prospect ability."
Beilanin said Johnson being drafted out of a Buffalo public school "is a huge shot in the arm for city baseball. Hopefully we can get the city baseball development back on track which would be phenomenal."
Johnson could either sign with the Reds and begin his professional career or he could go the college route. Both Canisius and Niagara have expressed an interest the righthander.