Aaron Poreda has never been to Chicago.
From this day forward, it will be his professional goal to get there.
The USF left-hander was taken by the Chicago White Sox with the 25th pick of the first round of Thursday’s Major League Baseball draft, sparking a celebration with family and friends at his parents’ home in Moraga.
He becomes the first USF baseball player in school history to be drafted in the first round. Jesse Foppert, who was drafted by the Giants (2001), and three-time All-American Taggert Bozied (2000) were second-round selections.
"It feels amazing and I can’t wait to get going and start working my way to the big leagues," Poreda said. "I’m going to spend the rest of the day celebrating and then tomorrow I’ll get right back to the grind."
The 6-foot-6, 235-pound Poreda is a classic power pitcher, featuring a fastball that regularly hits 94-96 mph, plus a slider, change-up and a developing cutter. He had originally hoped to get picked by the Giants at No. 22, but after San Francisco plucked Arizona prep pitcher Tim Alderson, Poreda’s disappointment didn’t last long. Adviser Paul Cobb called just before the White Sox chose and let Poreda know they were interested.Within minutes, he was with Chicago.
Poreda said he spoke with White Sox General Manager Ken Williams following the selection, but said the two did not discuss when he would join the organization or where he would report.
"I was kind of getting nervous," Poreda said. "But after I heard from Chicago I was really exited to know where I was going to be."
Poreda was recently named to the All-West Coast Conference first-team for the second straight season after going 7-6 with a 2.89 ERA in 2007. He leaves USF third in school history in wins (17), sixth in ERA (2.61) and seventh in strikeouts (169). The Campolindo (Moraga) High grad also pitched the Dons to the first and only NCAA tournament win in school history in 2006, a 5-1 win over host and heavily favored Nebraska.
Poreda becomes the highest draft pick to come out of the WCC since the New York Mets selected Billy Traber of Loyola Marymount 16th overall in 2000.
"I’m so happy for Aaron — my job is obviously first and foremost to look out for what’s best for the kids," USF coach Nino Giarratano said before the draft. "Of course we’d love to have him back to win a few more games for us, but it will be an awful lot more satisfying down the road to see a kid reach his dream and pitch in the major leagues. And for sure, God willing no injury, Aaron is a major-league pitcher."
One possible destination for Poreda is the Class-A Kannapolis (N.C.) Intimidators, where former USF teammate Stefan Gartrell (chosen by Chicago in the 31st round last year) is playing.
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