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King's Barnum ready for bigs

12:23 PM, Jun 4, 2012   |    comments
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Tampa, Fla. -- Keon Barnum is ready for Monday's baseball draft, regardless of when he gets a phone call from a Major League team.

"It don't really matter what team," Barnum said. "Whatever spot I get picked in, just go out and play."

Barnum is a likely first-day draft pick, with the potential to go in the first round.  With comparisons to Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard, Barnum is big (6'4", 225 pounds) with a smooth left-handed swing.

"When we got him he was a great hitter," King head coach Jim Macaluso said. "We left him alone."

That worked out well.  Barnum's big deficiency was defense, but he's getting better.

"He went to work... and he's an above average first baseman now," Macaluso said.

Improved defense helps, but Barnum is a top prospect because of his bat.  He set a King High school-record as a junior in 2011 with a .491 average.

That brought headlines and a rapid influx of attention.

"It was kind of new... so I kind of had a lot of pressure on me," Barnum said. "I just tried to block it out and play my game."

Committed to the University of Miami, Barnum still hit for average and power as a senior and help King reach the second round of the playoffs.

Since the season ended, Barnum worked out for six teams, including his hometown Tampa Bay Rays.

"The Dodgers and the White Sox I feel like I did my best," Barnum said. "I felt like I hit the ball well both of those two days, those two workouts. I feel like I showed my power pretty well."

Now it's time to get the call.

"That's my dream," Barnum said. "It's what I've been dreaming for, to go play pro ball."

Travis Bell, 10 News

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